Andover Girls Soccer has high hopes for the annual Andover/Exeter game this Saturday with a decade-long undefeated streak. Despite a series of mental and physical setbacks throughout the season, the team has persevered and is determined to win.
According to Head Coach Lisa Joel, the team is approaching A/E with an excited and enthusiastic mentality. Joel said she strives to guide the team by helping them convert the pressure leading up to the game into energy displayed on the field.
“What we want to do is channel that nervousness and embrace it; lean into that nervousness but then move beyond it and not be afraid and play with courage. And really just play with joy. If you play for each other and you just love this game, we can’t necessarily control what the outcome will be, but we can assure that at the end of it, we’re gonna feel really good…. Sometimes your emotions can take over and get you out of focus, so the key is to stay focused on playing the game that we play at this point in the season, which is a great game of soccer,” said Joel.
Wylie Roossien ’26 stated that in preparation for A/E, the team worked on overcoming mental blocks that caused its discouragement. Roossien noted that the team has been able to overcome these difficulties, along with other setbacks throughout the season, under the strong leadership of Joel.
Roossien said, “Not being able to accumulate that many wins has been something we’ve had to work through mentally. Through the leadership of our coach, Lisa Joel, and all of our Senior leaders… [we’ve been able] to not attribute success to the ending on the scoreboard but more of if we accomplished the goals we set out to do. One of the most significant setbacks we’ve faced is the overall record that we have right now, and the way the season’s ended up. One way we tackled that is through a sense of community and optimism.”
Lola Aguirre ’26 also states that the team has been training hard for the upcoming A/E game. Many of the skills they have been working on—spreading the field out and continuing to talk with one another—came to use for the team’s game against Lawrence Academy.
“I think our level of work and communication went very well. Especially because it was home and Senior Night, and the Seniors had worked hard for A/E, [making] it a really special night for all of us,” said Aguirre.
Joel noted that the support from the audience motivates the players to perform their best. The energy the players bring on the field is a reflection of the energy of the people watching, stated Joel.
“We love to play great soccer, so other people can enjoy it too… We’re inspired and motivated by the energy of those people who are fans and support us… I want them to use the positive energy from the community to kick it up a level, which I’m confident they will,” said Joel.
Andover will face Phillips Exeter Academy at home on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.