Volleyball Smashes St. Paul’s During Senior Night

Captain Chioma Ugwonali ’20 jumped up to block her opponent’s hit, winning Andover’s final third-set point on Wednesday

After losing to St. Paul’s earlier in the season, Andover Girls Volleyball beat St. Paul’s in 3 straight sets (25-14, 25-14, 25-21) this past Wednesday during its last home game of the year. Earlier in the week, Andover fell to Deerfield 0-3, and its record now stands at 12-3.

According to Ridley Warner ’22, the team struggled with its defensive positioning and ball placement against Deerfield.

“What we really need to work on is covering the back row, because it was difficult to tell if the ball was going in or out. We also got four crucial serves out, which we really needed to be in. We definitely need to work on our back row defense moving forward, just making sure that the ball gets to the setter instead of hitting the net,” said Warner.

According to Adaeze Izuegbunam ’20, the team went into the Deerfield game anticipating a victory, which caused the team to ignore small, yet crucial, details. Moving into the St. Paul’s game, the focus was on playing with tenacity and focus.

Izuegbunam said, “Today, especially having come from that loss on Sunday, we had to focus on our mindset. We went into that game thinking we would win, so today it was important to put it all out there from the start. Knowing that St. Paul’s was the first team to beat us this season and knowing that this was the last home game of the season, as well as senior night, we really wanted to have the mindset ‘right here and right now,’ as well as a revenge aspect. Not maliciously, but just to be really determined and have that fire.”

Against St. Paul’s, the team focused on passing directly to the setter and maintaining high levels of energy throughout the duration of the game, according to Delaney Arkell ’22.

Arkell said, “We really need to have good energy right off the bat because we played St. Paul’s earlier this season away and our energy was just not there. Also, it’s really important that our passes are to the setter so that we can run a lot of middle plays.”

Going into its last two games of the regular season, Andover looks to build upon the defense it exhibited against St. Paul’s to highlight the strength of the hitters in future games, according to Izuegbunam.

“We talked a lot about making sure we get attacks in the middle, which is where Chioma and myself play. I think this year we have a lot of other pretty strong middles who don’t necessarily play like other middles in the league, and when we hit middle, it distracts the other team more, so that we can then utilize our outside left and right hitters. Just making sure that we made accurate passes to the middle in order to run faster plays was the key for today,” said Izuegbunam.

Andover Girls Volleyball will face Milton away this Saturday.