In the final play of the game, Brooke Fleming ’20 jumped up to block an overpass as middle hitter. This play secured Andover Girls Volleyball’s 3-0 (25-12, 25-9, 25-13) victory over Milton this past Saturday. The team’s season record now stands at 9-3.
According to Brooklyn Wirt ’21, Milton presented less of a challenge than Andover has faced previously this season. With a greater margin for error, Andover seized the opportunity to test out different team formations, according to Wirt.
Wirt said,“We knew coming into the game that Milton was a little bit lower ranked of a team, which gave us the opportunity to put in everyone on the team to make sure everyone got to play, and that everyone was able to test out new things. We had people playing entirely different positions, and people who played positions that they had been playing before but [not] this season. Caroline [Gihlstorf ’19], who has been playing right side, played setter for a couple sets; same thing with Cassidy [Musco ’19]. We beat [Milton] pretty solidly, so it was a good time to put in different people on the team. Delaney [Arkell ’22], who is a [Junior], hasn’t had that much experience playing volleyball yet so this was a good game for her especially, and she played excellently.”
Despite receiving a lack of competitive fire from Milton and also playing in an unfamiliar formation, Andover remained both focused and intense throughout the game, according to Captain Serena Liu ’19.
Liu continued,“[Against] Milton, we won 3-0, and it was a pretty good game, we kept them around the ten point area and had a lot of runs. What stood out for me is that we had a lot of lineup changes, so we got in a lot of players who didn’t see a lot of playing time this season. We were still able to keep that level of intensity, energy, and skill, and I was so proud of the team in that respect because that just shows the depth that we have of the team this year.”
With these new lineups, players brought new energy to different positions that showcased the team’s depth of talent, according to Wirt and Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith.
Wirt continued, “[Mudmee Sereeyothin ’20] played amazingly, she had a ton of awesome hits. Every [position] she played [was] great, so this game was a good time for her to shine.”
Coach Beckwith said, “Mudmee, Warren [Clark ’21], [and] Delaney played with energy and skill. [Shayla Eubanks PG’19], Caroline, [and] Cassidy played in new positions. [The team] communicated well and supported each other, especially on defense. We emphasize team goals of the entire season, to play as a team: anticipate, adjust, execute.
Leading up to the game, Andover focused on improving its serving, combination hitting, and its ability to connect on the court, according to Wirt and Liu.
Wirt said,“We’ve been working a lot on serving in practice these last fews days, and that definitely came through against Milton. There was also a little more combination hitting during the game because we’ve also been working on that in practice as well.”
Liu added, “I think in practice it was not just about the skills but also about focusing on our teammates on the courts, like understanding when to communicate, [and] understanding how our teammates are moving around on the court, so it was more about finding a connection that we lost in the middle of the season and applying that to the game.”
Andover will face Phillips Exeter Academy at home this Saturday for Andover/Exeter weekend.
Editor’s Note: Caroline Gihlstorf ’19 is a Copy Editor for The Phillipian.