Taking on defenders in Tabor Academy’s 18-yard box, Lily Haik ’22 delivered the ball to Emily Mara ’25, who scored the first goal of her Andover soccer career. On the defensive end, player of the game, Sofia Traversari Sotomayor ’23 risked herself to make a series of valuable saves that resulted in collisions with the other team. Despite the determined performance, Andover Girls Soccer struggled to find another goal against Tabor Academy on Saturday, resulting in a 1-2 loss. The team’s record now stands at 2-1-3.
According to Alejandra Alicea ’24, the team was forced to find creative solutions to combat and exploit Tabor’s defense.
Alicea said, “Tabor wasn’t better than any of the teams we’ve played. They played a different type of game that we were used to. Their defensive line liked to press high and hang around the half.”
Despite the defensive challenges, the game against Tabor Academy was much less of a physical battle. Rather, during and before the game, the team emphasized mantras and focused on its core values to build mental strength, according to Traversari and Marie Marleau ’22.
“[Head Coach Lisa Joel] always says, ‘We don’t play to tie. We don’t play to not lose. We play to win’… We ask ourselves, ‘How much do we want this?,’” said Traversari.
Marleau added, “We didn’t really change any practice plans, we are a team that thrives on having fun and playing for each other and that’s exactly what we did all week to prepare for the game.”
According to Kendall Toth ’24 and Traversari, the Trot for Special Tots 5k over the weekend inspired the team to dedicate its game against Tabor Academy to Coach Phinney’s son with a disability, Georgie Phinney. One mantra, in particular, served as a driving force throughout the game.
“This weekend we played for something bigger than ourselves. We played for our team, our values, and shoutout [to] little Georgie Phinney — we played for you!… ‘We can do hard things’ has been our mantra recently,” Toth said.
“If during any point of the game it got tough, we thought about Georgie, about how if he can get up every single day and get through his hard life, we can also do hard things,” Traversari added.
The team’s determination to win for Georgie resulted in frustration when the game didn’t play out as expected, according to Toth.
Toth said, “This team is strong and full of real love. Our desire and passion are second to none, [so] we were absolutely gutted. That was one of the most painful and infuriating games we have played, and we will take it and use this fire to come back even stronger. We don’t want to feel like that again, so we will improve and we won’t let it happen again.”
Despite the loss, Traversari believes that the team effectively won back and then retained the ball.
“Clearly we were the more organized team; we were possessing the ball more. I think yesterday we learned that the score doesn’t truly indicate who was the best team,” said Traversari.
Andover Girls Soccer will face Choate at home next Saturday.