Isobel Glass ’21 sent the ball soaring into the back of the net on a penalty kick to give Andover Girls’ Soccer a 1-0 lead against Thayer Academy on Wednesday. Andover went on to tie Thayer, though the team defeated Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) 6-0 earlier in the week, advancing its record to 5-4-2.
Against NMH on Saturday, Andover was able to succeed offensively by finding openings in the defense, according to Emily Hardy ’20 and Isabella DiBennedetto ’20.
“We did a really good job of taking advantage of the space NMH was giving us. They were leaving the weak side of the field open, and our wingers did a great job of staying wide and driving the ball down the field,” said Hardy.
DiBennedetto added, “Against NMH, we kept possession a lot and controlled the midfield. This gave us the opportunity to score six goals. Anna Hurley [’21] was working hard to find Maddy [Silveira ’20] to find the back of the net.”
Andover shut down the NMH offense, allowing very few shots on net and matched NMH’s physical play defensively, according to Hardy.
“Our back line and our midfield had great communication when it came to marks and runners, which really helped limit the opportunities NMH had on goal. NMH is a physical team. We knew that going into the game, but the team did a great job of adjusting to the more physical play as the game went on,” said Hardy.
The game against Thayer remained in stalemate until the second half when Blakeley Buckingham ’20 was fouled and Glass scored off of a penalty kick.
Throughout the game, Andover was able to move the ball well, according to Buckingham and Hardy.
“On offense we did really well getting the ball wide, finding our forwards, and putting in quality crosses. The entire team did well defensively by pressuring Thayer quickly and effectively,” said Buckingham.
“As a unit we created a lot of scoring chances on Thayer’s goalie. Our wingers sent a lot of great crosses into the box and we put a lot of pressure on their defenders,” added Hardy.
On defense, Andover had to adjust its style of play to the Thayer offense by continuously marking the Thayer’s high striker, according to Silveira and DiBennedetto.
“[Co-Captain] Tookie [Wilson ’18] played amazing on defense against Thayer. We had her man-to-man marking a really good striker on the other team, who is committed to Brown, and Tookie took the job in stride and completely shut the girl down,” said Silveira.
Looking forward, Andover hopes to improve its ability to adjust to the opponent’s style of play. The team also hopes to create more distinct layers of offense, according to Hardy and Wilson.
“One thing as a team we can improve on is varying our attack. Most of our goals are scored when a big through ball is played to our striker or winger, who then have a relatively free shot on goal. If we are able to build the attack up from the back, we might be able to generate more scoring opportunities,” added Hardy.
“On offense we took creative risks, and on defense we stuck to the game plan and were successful outlets for the midfielders. However, we want to keep working on being dynamic and being ready to adjust to the conditions,” said Wilson.