Girls Volleyball Undefeated in Double-Header Against Taft and Hotchkiss, Sweeps Brooks Despite Last-Minute Lineup Changes

Wendy Wang ’24 sets the ball.

Girls Volleyball is led by Co-Captains Dagny Bingham ’23 and Michelle Brunetti ’23.

Andover Girls Volleyball hosted the season’s first Quad Meet this Saturday with Taft, Hotchkiss, and Phillips Academy Exeter. In a double-header against Taft and Hotchkiss, the team lost only a single set, despite facing readjusted lineups. Later in the week, Andover proceeded to another sweep over Brooks, putting its record at 4-1-1.

According to Saraya Angbazo ’25, the outcome of Saturday’s games relied heavily on the team’s energy level. Initially, the team matched Taft’s slow pace-of-play, causing Andover to lose the first set. However, the team bounced back quickly to find its rhythm.

“Taft was first and Hotchkiss was second. In both the games, the beginning was a rocky start. We had low energy, but as the game went on. We powered through, and the team came together and brought up the spirit. That’s what got us our wins,” said Angbazo. 

However, after gaining momentum from the win over Taft, the team’s starting setter had to be subbed out due to Covid-19. Despite changing its entire formation on the spot, the team adapted well against Hotchkiss, according to Lena Ciganer-Albeniz ’25. Additionally, Ciganer-Albeniz gave accolades to the team’s concentration until the last point. 

“For the second game, we tried a completely new lineup. Instead of playing five-one where there’s one setter who sets both the front and back row, we had two setters. So a six-two formation… Drew [Nelson ’24] and Yanna [Dorotan ’23] were the two setters, and we also did that formation for our game against Brooks today. They especially, but the entire team, did so well adjusting to such a new lineup that we had never tried before. And because it was a new lineup, we were more focused and conscious,” said Ciganer-Albeniz. 

Additionally, Angbazo also noted the team’s relentlessness in spite of challenges they have faced recently. Despite difficulties, the team played dynamically, shifting around and covering when needed, resulting in a sweep over Hotchkiss. 

Angbazo said, “Our mindset going into the Taft game was not to repeat [last Wednesday’s] BB&N game, where we were in a situation where we had to really come together in the last few sets and in our last few opportunities to win. So because of that, once we realized that set one went poorly, we had to pick up the pace and clean it all up, and I think we did that really well.”

Furthermore, Ciganer-Albeniz mentioned the hardships of playing a double-header. Even though the games got strenuous, in combination with the team’s stamina, players utilized various tactics to maintain steady pressure on the opposing team.

“I think that even though we were pretty tired, the team played pretty smart obviously. We know that we play our best when we were jumping high and swinging hard, but it’s difficult to do that near the end of a double-header, so when hitters weren’t able to get up to the ball as much as they’d like, they were tipping or pushing the ball instead, which were really smart plays that led to a lot of winning points,” said Ciganer-Albeniz. 

In Wednesday’s game against Brooks, Jaedyn Ford ’24 noticed that the team employed similar offensive tactics to the double-header, which contributed to its victory. Specifically, she credited the team’s defensive line, which helped Andover to take the victory by more than seven points in all three sets. 

Ford said, “We always really succeed in our defense, and we are always getting balls up. We always fight for every point…And we also were able to be smart with where to put the ball on the court and just work together as a team.”

Andover Girls Volleyball will play away at Loomis Chaffee on Saturday and host Noble and Greenough on Wednesday.