With her team down 18-21 in the third set, Claudia Leopold ’18 determinedly stepped to the service line and served five straight victorious points in a row. This fantastic run led to Andover capturing the third set and securing a lead. The team would eventually defeat Milton 3-1, extending its winning streak to three games. The win on Saturday improved the team’s record to 9-6.
Sewon Park ’17 started Andover’s first set off strong, serving to give Andover an 8-4 lead. Leopold, who scored a total of 16 service points on Saturday, lengthened the gap, scoring six more points to put Andover ahead with a score of 17 -7. Andover went on to win the first set by a score of 25-15.
Although multiple individuals contributed standout performances, teamwork allowed Andover to excel in its match against Milton.
“I think we worked as a team really well, because we had been practicing these new plays that we got to try out in a game setting on Saturday, and that really worked well,” said Katelyn Wang ’18.
“I think we just were able to work together, and efficiently and quickly get the ball over the net so that we could get the point[s], and sort of allow us to make the point[s] more efficiently by making good hits and playing smart,” added Serena Liu ’19.
For the second set, Andover switched up its lineup. Despite leading 20-18 late in the set, Milton’s strong play fueled a comeback, and Andover would fall 25-23 to even the match.
In the third set Andover focused on teamwork and despite trailing early 10-1, the team made a comeback to win 24-22. Fantastic serving performances from Leopold and Post-Graduate Margot Forti ’17 allowed Andover to secure the set. Andover brought its momentum to the final set, securing an easy victory.
Andover has recently been using a new serve-receive strategy where only two players receive the ball at the back of the court rather than three. This allows for greater freedom of movement for the players, and has strengthened the team’s defense.
“[The new strategy] is working really well, and I feel like we’ve had it for the past four or five games, and so far it’s allowing our defense to get stronger, which allows our setter to have a good place to set up the hits for the hitters,” said Liu.
Andover is optimistic about how it will utilize its different strategies, including the serve-receive formation, against Phillips Exeter Academy on Saturday.
“Going into our Exeter game, we’re going to work on the small details, so that we don’t lose points to minor details like serving or miscommunication, so we really want to hone out those smaller details, so we can most efficiently make good plays and not let those small details drag us down a few points,” said Liu.
Editor’s Note: Sewon Park is a Commentary Editor for The Phillipian.