Down 2-1 after the round of doubles matches, Andover Girls Tennis rallied to defeat archrival Phillips Exeter Academy 5-4 this past Saturday. After a 5-4 loss to Deerfield last week and a 7-0 sweep over BB&N this past Wednesday, the team’s record stands at 5-1.
At Exeter, the team managed to recover after losing two doubles matches by building up its energy going into the singles matches, according to Co-Captain Katherine Hu ’19.
“We had to win four out of the the six singles going in, so we had to regroup, sort of get ourselves back together and motivated for the singles. [We had to] forget about the doubles, even though we lost a few points, and just focus on winning the singles,” said Hu.
Against Deerfield, despite losing, the team showcased strength in its singles matches, according to Inge Park ’22.
“I feel that we were able to play strongly and feel more connected as a team. In the doubles matches we struggled a bit to win early on in the set, which got us a little behind, but in the singles matches we each played our best game and a had a few amazing comebacks after being down. We focused on being positive and playing our best for the team as a whole. Supporting and cheering for each other also gave us more confidence and drive to do better,” said Park.
Co-Captain Rhea Bhandari ’19 believes that this match taught the team the importance of keeping its focus throughout the entirety of every match.
Bhandari said, ” We had a couple of easy wins [early in the season], so we kind of had to change our mindset going into this match. I think that support from each other was really important for this match. We just really have to focus on our game and the way that we played and what we had been working on in practice, and we just had to try and implement those in our games.”
The team then travelled to BB&N on Monday —a quick turnaround from Exeter, with no practice time in between these two consecutive matches. Even so, Andover swept BB&N 7-0 and was able to use this match to successfully implement new techniques and improve its mistakes, according to Park and Bhandari.
“Our team was really strong throughout. Especially because we had to play shortened matches due to the time, it was important that we were focused at the start. Everyone played really well and in the end we were able to win all of our matches,” said Park.
Bhandari added, “A lot of us used this to practice what we had been learning in practice, actually taking advantage of the short balls, hitting our approaches, volleys during doubles, and also a big one for a lot of us: it’s sometimes hard to play against girls who are not as good as us. Playing our own game, not pushing the ball, not falling down to their level, and on the doubles, communicating with our partners and working together to set up the point well so that it can be finished at the net.”
Andover will face Milton at home on Wednesday.