Andover Prepares for Final Match Before Entering Playoffs

G. GLOVER/The Phillipian

Emma Fogg ’21 returned to the field as a starting center back after being out for two games.

After tying Phillips Exeter Academy at the past two Andover/Exeter competitions, Andover Girls Soccer looks to edge out its rival and secure a win this upcoming Saturday. Facing a 7-7-2 Exeter squad, Andover will enter the game with an 11-2-3 record, fresh off a tie against Lawrence Academy last Saturday.

The team will look to quickly take control of the game, according to Co-Captain Rachel Chang ’20 and Myra Bhathena ’22.

“Last year, [the score] was 2-1 and [Exeter] came back with a [penalty kick] in the last few minutes, and that was super disheartening because I felt that we had the game for almost the entire time… This year, I want to make sure that the team can fight the entire 80 minutes until the very last whistle,” said Chang.

“Obviously, it would have been better if we scored earlier, so I think getting a few goals in the beginning and continuing to maintain our lead is very important… I think the biggest thing is possession and taking ownership of the game,” said Bhathena.

According to Bella Di Benedetto ’20, the team considers the game a must-win, serving as its last game before heading into the league playoffs.

“The Exeter game is very important for us as a team. Not only because of the huge rivalry and hype that surrounds it every year, but we have had a great season so far and want to finish [our] last game with a win. This will hopefully put us in a really good spot going into playoffs and helping us reach our goal of winning the Nepsac title,” wrote Di Benedetto in an email to The Phillipian.

With a full week of practice leading up to the game, the team has used the time to train intensely, but also give themselves time to rest, according to Di Benedetto and Bhathena.

Di Benedetto wrote, “We have continued to train hard every day leading up to the game. Every day we arrive at Graves and the girls are always ready to go, giving 100% effort. This has helped us during the season and hopefully will carry us through Saturday.”

“We do have an entire week since our last game for this game so that’s not normal for us. We usually have two or three games a week, so I think we are going to have a few days of taking it easy and trying to get us recovered but then get back into it as hard as possible before the game,” said Bhathena.

According to Di Benedetto, the team will look to feed off its excitement and the fans’ support to defeat its rival.

Di Benedetto wrote, “The team is really excited about the game. Every year this game is really hyped up and we’re lucky to have the whole school supporting us even when we travel to Exeter. Obviously, we are staying grounded and focused on winning.”

Editor’s Note: Rachel Chang is a News Editor for The Phillipian.