When did you start playing lacrosse?
Lilly Feeney ’20: I started playing lacrosse thirteen years ago when I was in first grade. I started playing boys for two years and then switched to girls.
Olivia Nolan ’20: I started playing lacrosse when I was in kindergarten. I have three cousins, and all three of them played lacrosse. They’re a lot older than me so all three of them play lacrosse in college so we’ve always been a lacrosse family. I started playing lacrosse when I was pretty young, and I started getting more serious in middle school, then I played club lacrosse for a little while. Then I made the team at Andover and ever since then it’s been the best part of the spring every year, just having fun with my teammates, working together at practice every day. There’s nothing better.
Juliet Gildehaus ’20: I started playing in first grade. My whole family plays so I started just passing around with my brother and sister in the yard very, very young. My dad used to coach us.
How has playing lacrosse at Andover impacted your Andover experience?
Feeney: The lacrosse team has definitely been my family on this campus. I can always count on the girls on the team and have found some of my best friends through the sport.
Gildehaus: Being a part of the team here at Andover has been really a highlight of my Andover experience. I think it’s brought me a great sense of strength, and it has led me to a lot of my deepest friendships on campus. It’s truly been a highlight, and I really enjoy meeting a lot of new people that maybe I wouldn’t have met otherwise across different grades, and just being part of a team and putting in the work. We do a lot of activities outside of just playing whether it be team dinners or we have offseason practices and the Florida trip, so it’s had a huge impact on my Andover experience.
What were your goals for this season?
Nolan: I was definitely focused a lot on the off-field aspect this season, and I think as a captain you just look to create the most cohesive bonded team that you can. So, I think even before the season started we were just looking for ways to get people involved and get people really excited about lacrosse. I think for me, one of the things that I stressed a lot in meeting with the captains and coaches or with the Seniors and the coaches is just that we ask them for inclusivity. We really wanted to make sure that everyone felt like they had a place, not just the people on the Varsity team but just everyone involved in Andover Lacrosse having a place in the program and feeling like they’re a part of something. That was definitely a big aspect of my goals, but on the field, we were definitely looking forward to improving on some of the progress we made last season.
Gildehaus: We had so many goals and hopes and aspirations for this season, and I’m pretty heartbroken that I didn’t get to see a lot of them play out, but we were really hoping to win a lot. We were hoping to continue to build a great team bond and new players and old players. We were hoping to come out and win the SEAL Cup, which is our big tournament at the end of the season that [Head Coach Heidi Wall ’94] actually created with the coaches of Exeter, Lawrenceville, and St. Paul’s. They created a tournament for us, and we were hoping to come out and win that and then, of course, the biggest one was beating Exeter because we lost to Exeter last year, and it was really a game I wanted to win my Senior year.
How would you describe your relationship with your coaches?
Feeney: Our coaches are definitely super passionate about the sport and our team. Coach Wall has been my house counselor for the past two years, so I definitely think we have really connected on the field and in the dorm. In and out of season we are always talking about how to improve the program when I see her around campus or in the dorm. Coach [Taylor] Ware has also played a very important role in my experience. Not only was she my college counselor, but her kids have become the face of the program. She is always very energetic and excited and is one of the many things that fuels my passion for lacrosse.
Gildehaus: Our coaches are amazing, they’ve really been supportive from the get-go, and I feel like I have a really special connection to Coach Wall, Coach Ware, and Coach [Kassie] Archambault [’06]. My first year on the team I was a Lower, and that was Coach Wall’s first year as Head Coach so it’s really been awesome to see what she’s done with the program and be on that journey with her of making it her own and our own and building it up from where it was when I was a freshman. I think she’s done a great job, so I’m super close with my coaches and I’m so grateful for everything they’ve done for me.
How are you trying to connect your team despite being off campus?
Feeney: Although not being able to play one last season, we have been trying to keep everyone connected as much as we can. We have been competing in challenges, putting together videos of playing “virtual catch,” competing in virtual 5Ks, etc. We are doing everything we can to stay together despite being apart. We are having a leadership talk with the Lowers, Uppers, and Seniors, who tried out for the team in order to pass down the values of our team to the next generation of Andover Lacrosse.
Nolan: It’s definitely tough especially as a Senior knowing that we’re not going to come back. Staying connected with the team has been nice to regain some semblance of a season. In that sense, as for staying connected, we have a big GroupMe with all the girls who are planning on trying out for girls lacrosse as well as the coaches. That’s been a really fun way to get people engaged in a fun, casual manner. If someone goes on a bike ride or a run, they’ll send a selfie in the group. It’s a good way to stay motivated, to be active when it might be easier to slip into staying around the house. It’s definitely something that motivates me to get out and be active, and also that’s just fun to look at and see that all my teammates and all the girls who are invested in lacrosse are taking it seriously and also having fun.