Despite readjusting its lineups, Andover Girls Volleyball lost only one set throughout the two matches against Hotchkiss and Taft. The team first faced off against Hotchkiss, winning 3-1, and followed their victory with a 3-0 shutout against Taft, just 20 minutes after the Hotchkiss game had ended. Andover is undefeated to open its season, holding a 3-0 record.
According to Nneka Ezeike ’26, many changes were made to the lineups to give typical starting players a chance to rest for the team’s next game. Several starters were unable to play in Saturday’s games due to Covid-19 diagnoses and injuries, requiring the bench to step up for the past week.
Ezeike said, “This was my first time starting because three out of six of our starters were not playing. We practiced like we played in the game, [honestly] even harder than we played in the game.”
While Andover started off strong against Hotchkiss, the team fell out of its rhythm and dropped the third set. Ultimately, the team was able to win the fourth set, securing the victory against Hotchkiss.
“One of the most crucial moments [of the weekend] was probably [from] our first game, because we won two sets, and then in the third set, we started losing. The last set was kind of an energy booster, we wanted to finish the game. That’s one of our biggest weaknesses is finishing the game, so I think that finishing that fourth set was an important way to gain the energy to win against Taft,” said Ezeike.
Co-Captain Mary Lord ’24 emphasized the importance of playing a challenging team, as it boosted Andover’s morale during both games. The victory against Hotchkiss paved the way for a sweep against Taft, testing the team’s ability to navigate challenging plays from the opposing team.
“Hotchkiss is a really scrappy team. They are able to get every ball up, they’re always picking it up. Having a win against them was great because it made us think smart about where we were placing the ball and how we were playing the game. Having a win where we had to think about what we were doing made us work together as a team really well, and that led us into Taft because we worked out all of the kinks in our game,” said Lord.
Before the weekend, Girls Volleyball predicted that Taft would prove to be a more difficult match-up than the preceding game against Hotchkiss. Despite this, Andover dominated the seemingly more difficult opponent, according to Ezeike.
“In the second game, Taft was definitely [stronger] competition than Hotchkiss, but we ended up winning by more… We just had a lot of energy, and even though we saw [Taft] as a better team than Hotchkiss, we just used the crowd’s energy even if it was against us. We pumped each other up and moved on from every mistake,” said Ezeike.
The team plans to focus its attention on improving energy levels, a skill that proved important during the double-header. Kate Rodgers ’26 added that Andover will also continue to work on its communication as the season progresses.
“One of the main things we are working on is communicating with each other and being loud, and I think we really improved in that area. If you compare it to the first game against Dana Hall, we were so much louder. It was a better environment to play in,” said Rodgers.
Andover will host Loomis Chaffee on Saturday.