Andover Field Hockey lost against Tabor Academy (Tabor) 0-2 on Saturday, but defeated Governor’s 1-0. The team’s defeat against Tabor was its first loss in almost two years. Despite this, the team rallied in a close game against Governor’s and recovered for a win. The team’s record now stands at 5-1.
According to Ava Murphy ’24, in the game against Tabor, the team’s lack of aggression led to a struggle in the offensive third of the field. The team began to show signs of scoring at the beginning of the second half, but ended up being shut out for the first time in the season.
“I think we played a little scared or more defensively than we needed to be and we let them have space, which resulted in them obviously working up the field more. But in the second half I think we realized that and we came out right away. They had possession in the second half and so we immediately pounced right on them and we got the ball down the field and earned a corner in the first minute or two… We definitely didn’t have our structure and I think we will definitely bounce back,” said Murphy.
Co-Captain Shea Freda ’24 felt similarly to Murphy, saying that the struggles in both games came from a lack of offensive threat. The team lacked its usual offensive identity, and was unable to take advantage of the majority of its chances.
Freda said, “I think the game against Tabor was tough because we just couldn’t score, which was our main problem. I think today was also tough because I feel like we weren’t playing our own game as much as we could have and that caused us not to be able to score for a while but we ended up putting one in… but hopefully in the next few games we are able to capitalize more in our chances of like playing true to how we usually do.”
Andover also looks to improve on its offball movement, hoping to supply teammates with different passing options on the field, according to Zori Warren ’23.
Warren said, “Right now, we are really working on strategic positioning in the circle, in particular, but also maybe more importantly how we support our teammates with the ball and so even if you don’t have the ball, how are you finding a way to be open for a pass or how are you backing up the person who’s playing the ball right now. [Just to] really have those dynamic layers on the field.”
The team looks to face every opportunity as if it’s vital towards the result of the season, noted Murphy. Despite being previously undefeated, Murphy does not feel that the team’s record is crucial to its mentality, as they always go into games focused on the task at hand.
“I just think of taking every shot like it’s our last shot and putting our bodies really on the line and just not being afraid to lose because I think there’s this stigma around it. Our team’s been undefeated for almost two years at this time, but we don’t really see our team as that, we see one game at a time and go into every game where it’s a 0-0 record,” said Murphy.
According to Freda, one of the positive takeaways from the games against Tabor and Governor’s was that the team passed the ball well and defended thoroughly when its opponents had chances. However, one area for improvement was transitioning from offense to defense, which led to the lack of goals.
“I think our offense did well, moving the ball quickly down the field and to the circle when we did have the ball. And defensively, we did a good job moving the ball outside and clearing it out when they did get chances, but I still think we could work more cohesively as a unit between our offense and defense. Because there were some times where the defense would get stuck in the back and not be able to move it up to the forwards. I think working together more between the forwards and defense would help us win the next couple games,” said Freda.
Andover will face Choate away on Saturday.