The excitement of Andover Girls Volleyball playing against a talented Loomis Chaffee team was exemplified when Andover could not help but laugh at an incredible slam-down by Loomis’ outside hitter. Despite losing in straight sets at home against Loomis, the atmosphere surrounding the team after the game was one of satisfaction after it put in a commendable effort against its best opponent so far. The team’s record now stands at 4-3.
According to Jaedyn Ford ’24, competing against such a skillful team required Andover to put in a strong effort and focus all its energy into the game.
Ford said, “I love playing against good teams. [Although] it can be intimidating watching those girls hit balls straight down… I think we play better against better teams, because… we feed off of [the energy that other teams give us]… When we play against better teams we play better… With a team that’s not as good as us, you can just go slowly and just go through the motions and not really fight hard for every point. But when it’s a team that will slam a ball on you, you have to fight a lot harder.”
Co-Captain Sophie Watson ’22 echoed Ford’s comments, saying it was more satisfying to be beaten knowing the team had fought hard.
“I think playing… teams with really strong hitters… makes the game just more exciting. It’s always a lot nicer to lose to a team [that pushes you] to be the most competitive version of yourself, [that pushes you] to try your hardest to come all-out, than playing a team that’s below your level… Typically, for most sports teams, you play down to their level, especially if the energy isn’t there, and it’s more of an awkward game than head-on-head [games in which] you want it so bad, you do have the chance to compete and hone down your skills when you do play a harder team. I think it’s a lot more fun,” said Watson.
According to Ford, the team viewed this loss against Loomis in complete contrast to its loss against BB&N, as the increase in energy was apparent.
“I definitely think there’s a big difference [between this game and the game vs. BB&N], because… our energy was a lot higher this game… I think [in this game, we didn’t] want to feel like [we did after BB&N] again, and don’t want to feel like [we did after] Central Catholic… so I think it was more like trying to avoid that feeling and get back the Hotchkiss and Taft feelings, so I think there was definitely a change in our feelings then,” said Ford.
According to Karisa Bockley ’23, a takeaway from this game against Loomis was to not dwell on mistakes and to focus on the next point.
Bockley said, “Volleyball is a very mental sport because if you make a mistake, it’s pretty obvious, so I think from this game, we know we just need to shake off… and get the next one. If you mess up, you have to focus… on the next point, and I think as a team we’re starting to do that a lot better, and bring[ing] everyone together after those kinds of points to get our energy back up.”
Co-Captain Ridley Warner ’22 says the focal point ahead of Andover’s game against Noble & Greenough on Wednesday is to continue working hard in practice, especially in the department of covering.
“[We plan to prepare for Wednesday by] continuing hitting practice, and making sure to slam the ball into the ground and follow through. And then covering when we’re surrounding the ball as our team tries to hit, we want to make sure that when they block the ball against the net, we [are] there. When they hit at us, we want to be there as well,” said Warner.
Andover will look to resume its winning ways away against Nobles on Wednesday.