Girls Hockey Enters Exeter Rivalry with an Optimistic, Energized, and Resilient Mindset

Shea Freda ’24 lines up for the face off.

With a 12-4-4 season record, Andover Girls Hockey hopes to continue its success against Phillips Exeter Academy this Saturday in addition to clinching a higher playoff seed. The return of the Andover/Exeter rivalry after a one season pause makes the team even more anticipatory of this year’s matchup.

According to Lexi Secreto ’22, having home ice will be an advantage for Andover. Not only will it allow for a higher energy fan section, but also, the team can use the energy as momentum in the playoffs later on. 

“Especially since it’s at home, it’s going to be really good energy for the team. We’ll really need that good energy going into the playoffs… Sometimes we feel like the game is going out a bit longer, or we kind of get into these lows. So we definitely need to work on keeping the energy super high,” said Secreto. 

Despite Exeter’s weaker record this season, the team will not take chances in assuming Exeter’s skill level, according to Deanna Buenzow ’23. With both sides fighting equally for the win, anything can happen. 

“I do not think Exeter has a good record this year, but as we have seen from other scores throughout the league this season, anyone can beat anyone. We can’t come out flat like we did on Saturday because no team, especially our rival, is going to come into the game giving us a win,” wrote Buenzow in an email to The Phillipian.

To clinch a top seed in the playoffs, Andover/Exeter is a must-win game. However, the team is just focusing on one game at a time in order to maintain maximum focus and to alleviate some pressure during playoff season, according to Annabel Curry ’25.

“Right now, we’re just focusing on taking one game at a time. That’s how we’ve always been doing it. Never looking too far ahead because every game matters in terms of playoff season,” said Curry.

In order to defeat Exeter, Keira Harder ’23 believes the team needs to bring the same resilience it found in the recent Worcester game. Against Worcester, the team went into the third period down by one and ultimately won by scoring three goals in two minutes.

“[An] example of our resiliency as a team would probably be the Worcester game this past Saturday when we went down by a goal in the first twenty seconds of the game. But we kept working hard, getting great looks on net and in the last two and half minutes of the game, we went ahead 3-1. I think our team has a lot of heart and I’m super excited going into this next week,” wrote Harder in an email to The Phillipian.

Andover Girls Hockey will host Exeter this Saturday at 12:00 p.m.