Captains and Camaraderie Drive Improvement For Girls Water Polo

Despite the players’ inexperience, Andover Girls Water Polo has continued to make improvements through a deep sense of trust between its teammates. The team wrapped up its home games of the 2022 season against Phillips Exeter Academy on Wednesday after a double-header against Choate and Loomis last Saturday. The team’s record now stands at 0-6. 

According to Emily Ryan ’25, despite losing to Exeter, the amount of improvement the team was a win in it of itself. She claims that the team has continuously shown development in displaying skills learned from practice in games.

“They were definitely our best games so far this season. Although we didn’t pull through with the win, I could definitely see a lot of improvement and everyone was able to use the new skills that we learned over the week in practice in the game and it turned out really nicely. We scored a lot more goals than we did in the beginning of the season and our team is all about improvement. So even though we may not have won the games, we still think of it as a win in our minds because we improved so much,” said Ryan.

Ryan explains that the team was specifically able to implement “drives and switches” into its three recent games, something that it had consistently worked on in practice. 

Ryan said, “We’ve been working on a lot of drives and switches. This is when we’re on offense, creating movement in the pool, which is something we found really difficult at the beginning of the season, but it really worked well in our three recent games because we all put in the work in practice and I think it definitely showed in our games. I could tell that we were creating a lot of movement moving away from our defenders and we got a lot of goals off of those movements and we were able to show our coaches that we were improving.”

Co-Captain Cassidy Sadowski​​ ’22 hoped for a re-match against Choate as she reflected upon the game. She believes that the team has a shot at beating them, as both teams have similar levels of experience.

“I think that our Choate game was one of the closest games we’ve had all season. We are well matched against Choate in general and I think if we played them again we would have a really great shot at beating them. So I’m hoping that we can maybe get that opportunity. We’re working on it as a possibility, but I think overall we played with strength and integrity through every game,” said Sadowski.

Despite struggling to pull through games due to inexperience, the team has been a place to grow and cultivate friendships, according to Molly MacKinnon ’24 and Ryan, who are both new to the sport this season. Ryan claims that the kindness and leadership from Co-Captains Sadowski and Kayla Lang ’22 have made water polo and enjoyable space for her to feel comfortable and learn new things everyday.

Ryan said, “I definitely want to highlight our two captains, [Sadowski] and [Lang]. They both started here when they were freshmen too, so it was super encouraging. [Sadowski] had some past experience, but [Lang] started playing water Polo here at handover, so she was super helpful with just the new transition to the sport. Also, [Sadowski] just gives great advice and guidance to everyone on the team. She helped me the first week and still continues to help me with things I struggle with and I’m just so thankful to them for making the team such a safe and positive space where I feel comfortable trying new things. [And even if things don’t go well at first], I know that they’ll support me and help me work on them as long as it takes.”

MacKinnon shared Ryan’s sentiment, claiming that the camaraderie has allowed each individual to grow in the water skillswise.

“It’s been so fun. Everyone is so proud of each other, and the majority of us are new to the sport, and our captains have done a great job making sure that everyone is learning, everyone’s improving, we all have so much fun while doing it,” said MacKinnon.

Andover will travel to Hopkins on Saturday hoping to clinch its first win of the season.