Andover Girls Volleyball dominated offensively, sweeping Dana Hall School 3–0 on Saturday with consistently strong serves and hits. On Wednesday, despite the team’s adjusted lineup due to Covid-19 protocol, its players stayed persistent in a tight game against BB&N. Although initially down 2–0, the team forced the game to five sets but fell just short in the final set, losing 14–16. The team’s record now stands at 1–1.
According to Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith, Saturday’s season opener against Dana Hall School initiated a sense of chemistry within the team. In addition to coordinated attacks, Beckwith highlighted the team’s defense, which led the team to win by 12 points in two of the three sets.
“We learned to play together. It was our first match, we did have a scrimmage against Andover High, but it was the first match that we had, and I believe what we did is we started forming as a team. The unexpected benefits on Saturday were our back row attacks and our defense,” said Beckwith.
In the first two sets of Wednesday’s game against BB&N, the team’s hitters could not connect with the ball to formulate effective attacks, mostly due to poor communication and a lack of confidence, according to Lena Ciganer-Albeniz ’25. However, in the latter sets, the team quickly gained confidence in its offense, allowing for a comeback.
Ciganer-Albeniz said, “I think there [were] a lot of good things we did really well…. We were down two sets, and after that, there was a whole lot of communication and a lot of energy…. All the hitters were swinging so well and they were going for it, and the other team was really persistent in [its] defense. In the third and fourth set, we were able to break that because we were patient, but also not afraid of making mistakes and just going for it.”
Leading up to Wednesday’s game, many of the team’s starters could not play due to Covid-19. Thus, Beckwith’s main focus for the game was filling in the missing players while still maintaining a cohesive lineup.
“Well, what we are focusing on improving is filling the gaps of [Covid-19] absences. We will have some significant line-up changes because of missing starters, so the main focus quite frankly will be to function as a team without our starters,” said Beckwith.
Though the team was initially tentative with its new lineup, Saraya Angbazo ’25 noticed an increase in energy once its players became more comfortable with their positions. The high energy allowed the team to show its true potential both offensively and defensively in the last three sets.
“I think we did well picking the energy up even after being two sets down in the beginning, but quickly we got the energy back up and the spirit high, and that pushed us to winning the next two sets. In practice, although we miss Mary [Lord ’24] and Pauline [Huang ’23] and wish we had all the players on the team playing together, I think we were able to quickly bounce back and move people around into different positions, and we could quickly pick it up,” said Angbazo.
Although the comeback against BB&N was a full team effort, Ciganer-Albeniz specifically highlighted Angbazo and Karisa Bockley ’23 for playing middle blocker and hitter, despite each not being their primary position. According to Ciganer-Albeniz, their efforts were crucial to the team’s success.
“Volleyball is a sport where everyone has to contribute in order for the team to score a point. We have two middle hitters that are out right now because of Covid-19, so then Saraya and Karisa came in to play middle, and they did so incredibly well given that they don’t always start or play that position,” said Ciganer-Albeniz.
Andover will host Taft and Hotchkiss on Saturday and play at Brooks on Wednesday.