Tied 3-3 after six matches, seventh seed Katherine Bell ’22 faced a two-game deficit, needing to defeat her opponent to secure an Andover Girls Squash win over Winsor. Despite being down, Bell fought back to win her third game 13-11, before finally falling to her opponent in the fourth. Andover’s 3-4 loss to Winsor this past Wednesday, in addition to their 0-7 loss against Noble and Greenough on Saturday, brought the team’s record to 1-4.
Despite being away from campus, each member of the team worked hard to get on the court throughout Winter Break, according to first seed Mariam Elkheshen ’21.
“Everyone on the team tried to play over break as much as they could, according to the availability of squash courts [in] their hometowns. When we came back, we all tried to practice as hard as we can so we would be prepared for the [match against Nobles]. Unfortunately, we were all tired and some of us were jetlagged, but we all gave it our best shot over there,” said Elkheshen.
Third seed Charlotte Toogood ’20 was particularly impressive with her intensity and determination in Andover’s match against Nobles, according to second seed Captain Skyler Spaulding ’20 and fifth seed Saffron Agrawal ’21.
Spaulding said, “I was particularly impressed with Charlotte during her match on Saturday because she has been battling illnesses for so long but that didn’t stop her from competing her hardest.”
“I was especially impressed by Charlotte’s playing this past weekend. When my match ended she was in the middle of an extremely close third game. I believe she was down 2-0 in games, but based on her attitude I wouldn’t have been able to guess that. Despite being a bit under the weather, she ran for every ball with determination and was very consistent with her shots,” said Agrawal.
According to Spaulding and Agrawal, Andover’s primary goal heading into its match against Nobles was to enter its matches with intensity and aggression, no matter the circumstances.
“Everyone competed with a lot of intensity. We made it our goal to ‘hunt’ during our matches. That means having good preparation, anticipation, and determination,” said Spaulding.
Agrawal said, “Before our match against Nobles, our team had some time to discuss our goals for the day. A very consistent goal brought up was that many of us wanted to work on starting off our matches, games, and points strong. So far, we have only had away games, so it [was] hard to play after a long car ride and only a bit of time to warm up.”
On Wednesday, in the team’s first home match of the season, Elkheshen and Spaulding were especially excited to play on the Mead Exhibition Court.
Elkheshen said, “I was very excited for our first home game because we are used to our courts and whenever we go on the road the courts are sort of different to ours, so it was a really good advantage to be able to play on [the Mead Exhibition Court] because I know that the ball was going to bounce really high; that was an advantage for me.”
Spaulding said, “Especially for me, playing on the exhibition court was definitely an advantage because the lights are really bright [which] always throws off the opponents. Also we play with a one dot so the ball moves much faster than [the opponents] are used to.”
Both Spaulding and Elkeshen won their matches against Winsor, with Spaulding displaying her skills in an important 3-0 sweep against her opponent, according to Elkeshen.
“I liked the way Skyler played today because she was ahead of the game and even when she hit the ball in the tin or something, she doesn’t get mad, and she tried to hit the ball better, and tried to run and get every ball,” said Elkeshen.
Despite its loss, Andover achieved many of its pre-match goals, including consistency, according to Agrawal.
Agrawal said, “I think that we did well being consistent; a lot of us at the end, when we went around and said what we were proud of and what we needed to work on, a lot of us said that we were proud of the way that we simplified the game; that was one of our goals. So, we wanted to hit more to the back and more consistently to make it more difficult for our opponents to dig the balls out of the back.”
Looking forward, Andover plans to utilize a more offensive approach in futures matches in order to quicken the pace of its play, according to Agrawal.
Agrawal said, “We’re looking to work on adding more pace to our shots because we think that could give us a more offensive approach to the game versus defensive because the faster we make the game the more pressure it puts on everybody.”
On Saturday, Andover will host Taft, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Loomis Chaffee in a triple-header.