In preparation for its faceoff against both teams, Andover worked in practice on short game and fitness exercises, according to Kennedy Ndiaye ’22.
“The day before, we practiced a volley drill where we practiced our short game. I also think because we worked on fitness a lot we had good stamina to push through. It made it a lot easier to beat them,” said Ndiaye.
By adapting its play to an offensive tactic, the team was able to close out its opponents more efficiently according to Katherine Bell ’22.
Bell said, “We were working on a very offensive game, which in squash is going forward and hitting a lot harder shots or lower shots that make it harder for the other person to retaliate. We all wanted to play more offensively in that game, like playing shorter shots and not giving the opposite player the chance to attack and win the point, and I think we did.”
Karen Wang ’23 said that ball placement was productive during points.
“While playing points, we were really good at placing the ball so our opponents couldn’t get it. That ended up being really effective,” said Wang.
The team overcame the mental obstacle that came with playing a double-header and brought a lot of positivity to its second match, according to Saffron Agrawal ’21.
“The most challenging part of playing two matches back-to-back was the mental aspect, because as soon as we were done with the first match, we had to reset our mindsets to be ready for an entirely new match. In most cases, I think a lot of us felt good after the first match against Loomis, so we channelled the confidence and positive energy into the second match against Taft,” said Agrawal.
According to Ndiaye and Bell, the team’s leaders and coaches positively impacted each player’s match by offering feedback and setting a winning mentality.
Ndiaye said, “Our Captain, [Skyler Spaulding ’20] always gives us a little speech before and tells us to ‘hunt’ the ball. Her speech gets us ready and gets us thinking about what we are going to do. [Assistant Coach Midori Ishizuka ’11] also gave us really good feedback between each game which was really good.”
“[Coach Ishizuka] wouldn’t try to overcomplicate instructions. She would give us just one thing to really think about during our game after analyzing how the person was playing and that really helped everyone keep focus on that one thing that led to the success of the team,” said Bell.
Ishizuka noted that the team adapted well to a quick turnaround and a change of plans.
“Coaching the girls in the Loomis and Taft matches was easy, not because of any skill of mine, but because the girls already knew exactly what to do. We had a change of plans and were in a time crunch trying to beat the snow storm. The girls literally got down to business. They focused, executed, and won with grace,” said Ishizuka.
Andover will play Exeter home on Saturday.