Receiving a quick pass from starter Anna Dear ’16, Co-Captain Sasha Newton ’16 rocketed the ball to the top left corner of the net to give Andover Girls Water Polo a one-goal edge in overtime. Andover proceeded to win 11-10 against Deerfield, bringing its record to 5-1.
Andover secured an early lead due to the prowess of its defensive line. The team concentrated on implementing a heavy press defense in order to limit its opponent’s shooting opportunities, as well as providing pressure on the perimeter.
“Our defense was really strong and we were able to press Deerfield a ton,” said Morgan Rooney ’17. “We had to make sure not to foul one of their players outside five, because she was a strong shooter. Other than that, we were able to manage them well.”
Sarah Al-Mayahi ’17 said, “Overall, our defense was very strong the entire game. We tried not to foul outside five-meters because we didn’t want Deerfield to get shots on [our] goal. We pressed them really hard and sometimes double-teamed players in order to turn over the ball.”
Head Coach Dan O’Shea wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “I think we played a very good defensive game against Deerfield this weekend. It was a high-scoring game but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Deerfield is very physically fit and very fast. They forced us to play smart on the perimeter in a way that no other team really has this year. We did a great job of covering up and forcing bad shots.”
Andover’s match against Deerfield was its second overtime game of the season, with its first being its season-opener against Loomis Chaffee. In this overtime match, the team focused on improving from its past mistakes.
“It was a tough fought battle that really showed the strength and tenacity of our team,” said Rooney. “This was our second overtime game so far this year and we were able to learn from our past mistakes and find a way to win together. It really was an emotional rollercoaster, but in the end, we all pulled together and won as a team.”
Coach O’Shea said, “The big story this weekend though was our team’s tenacity. Our players wanted to win the game and when Deerfield equalized in the fourth quarter, they really stepped it up. I was extremely proud of our captains who led our offense in the sixth quarter to three goals and helped seal up the victory.”
Offensively, Andover focused on clean playing and effective communication to create a steady lead against its opponent.
“In offense, we did a very good job in communicating with each other,” said Allyson Ty ’18. “We looked and made safe passes. We played our best and remained positive throughout the game. When we went into overtime, it was intense. We had to match Deerfield’s speed and skill with our own. We were very proud of how well we played in the game.”
“We had a lot of chances to score, but there were also a lot of turnovers. Whenever there were chances, we took advantage of them and a majority of the game, we were leading,” added Al-Mayahi.
In anticipation of its matches against Loomis and Choate, Andover looks to improve its passing and create better shooting opportunities on the offensive end.
Newton wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “In terms of improvement, we need to continue to work on passing the ball around to create movement and opportunity on offense so that we work as one cohesive unstoppable unit.”
Andover hopes to extend its six game winning streak in its doubleheader against Loomis and Choate on Saturday.
Editor’s Note: Sarah Al-Mayahi is an Illustration Editor for The Phillipian.