Girls Volleyball Looks to Conquer Number One Ranked Exeter

Co-Captain Michelle Brunetti ’23 has played on Andover Girls Volleyball since her Junior year. Above, Brunetti plays libero at last year’s Andover/Exeter game.

Andover Girls Volleyball anticipates a challenging match against Phillips Exeter Academy this Andover/Exeter (A/E) weekend. Earlier this season, Exeter defeated the team 0-3, but Andover is more than prepared to turn the tables this time around.

According to Lena Ciganer-Albeniz ’25, the team is prepared to showcase its recent improvements since the last game against Exeter. The loss in October was partly a result of injuries and adjusted lineups, but now, the players are excited for the anticipated match-up.

“Going into A/E, I’m really excited because I think that last time that we lost against Exeter, we were missing two of our starting players but since then, even people who are not starters have really improved their skills… We’re going to go into A/E with a lot of fire and energy. I think that’s going to really benefit us,” said Ciganer-Albeniz.    

As the season progresses, players have been developing effective plays and thinking quickly on their feet, noted Ciganer-Albeniz. Most importantly, the team has prepared to be more decisive on the court.

Ciganer-Albeniz said, “We’ve been working on fast paced hits, more fast paced plays, so that includes lower sets and the setter or hitter goes faster, also just keeping the energy high and adjusting to whatever we have to and placing tips in the correct place, and making smart decisions with our plays.” 

With the highly competitive energy of A/E, Pauline Huang ’23 emphasised the significance of a focused mind. She noted the importance of having confidence in each other to persevere though stressful moments. 

“I’m trying to have as much fun as I can and treasure every moment with the team and on the court right now so that I don’t leave any regrets… [This season] I’ve learned to get over performance anxiety. I used to care so much about what people think about my performance on the court… Now I’ve learned to focus more on what’s happening on the court, to think that I have all my skill sets in my pocket, and to believe in myself and my teammates,” said Huang.

In an email to The Phillipian, Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith shared his understanding of how the A/E game will pan out. He believes that Andover has the ability to defeat Exeter, but thinks that the match will come down to whichever team is playing at its best.

It all depends which [Andover Girls Volleyball] team shows up. We have the skills and the depth to beat Exeter. If we make fewer mistakes than they do, then we have a shot at even beating the [number one] ranked team,” wrote Beckwith. 

Andover Girls Volleyball will face Exeter at 11:30 a.m. this Saturday.