Girls Volleyball Defeats St. Paul’s, Loses to Exeter

Front front to back, Sarah Beth Sirmon PG’24, Kate Rodgers ’26, and Ashley Schuman ’27 prepare to receive a serve.

Kate Rodgers ’26 had eight service points against St. Paul’s on Friday.

Friday 10/13 – Andover: 3, St. Paul’s 1
Wednesday 10/18 – Andover: 1, Exeter: 3

Last Friday, Girls Volleyball faced St. Paul’s and secured a 3-1 victory. Buoyed by this win, the team aspired to sustain its winning momentum. Unfortunately, despite its efforts, they couldn’t maintain it, resulting in a 1-3 loss to Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter) on Wednesday.

According to Saraya Angbazo ’25, the team initiated the match with a commanding performance in the first set against St. Paul’s. Nevertheless, it experienced a setback in the second set, prompting Angbazo to emphasize the importance of maintaining consistent energy levels throughout the entire match.

“I think we definitely wanted to go in with a lot of energy and that we did start out with it. I believe the first set was 25-7. The first set was really strong and that got us pumped up except afterwards we had a dip in our energy and because of that, when we are not having fun or when we are not putting our all out there, that is when our play starts to go down…. We lost the second set, so that was a tough one, but we were able to bring the energy back up. But after that point the energy kept coming in waves and that is something we are working on as a team, keeping that energy consistent if not trending upwards,” said Angbazo.

Although strong teamwork contributed to the win, Selene Xu ’27 highlighted fellow freshmen Ashley Schuman ’27 as a stand out player, highlighting her incredible services. Her rhythm and composure served to be a pivotal asset for the team.

Xu said, “I feel like the teamwork in general was really good. Also there were a few good servers. I think there were streaks of five to ten serves… I remember that Ashley Schuman served ten serves in a row… I think Ashley’s serve really stood out because she just served a lot in a row and she is also a freshman, so I think that really stood out to everyone and we were all impressed with her serves this game.”

Games with Andover versus Exeter often bring out large crowds, and with it, pressure to defeat the rival school. In previous encounters, Angbazo felt that the team went into the game with a timid mindset, hindering their ability to play at their best. This time, although the team lost, she believed that their mindset was much better and is looking forward to a rematch.

Angbazo said, “In my past experience of playing Exeter, we have always just had such a scared mindset going into the game, we have all this pressure riding on our backs, not just from our school but also from ourselves, we want to prove to Exeter we are better, we want to beat Exeter, that comes with being an Andover student. So often times we stress ourselves out and Exeter is a strong team, they have good people, so from my past experiences we have lost and it has been massive losses. But today was just a turning point for me. A turning point to see that Exeter is not something we should be scared about. Exeter should be scared of us. We were super strong and although the outcome was not what we were hoping for, I am so excited for A/E in a couple weeks, that game is going to be incredible.”

Sophie Holten-Moravek ’25 thought that although the team could have put even more effort into the game, they ultimately played well. She believed that the outcome did not reflect how close the game actually was.

“Overall, I think we played hard. I think that we could have played harder and we could have played better, but I think we had good energy and we tried our best throughout the sets. The score ended up being 3-1 [Exeter] but we were very, very close in all of the sets and I think that if we made a couple of changes, we could have easily beat them,” said Holten-Moravek.

Angbazo agreed that the team has the capabilities to defeat Exeter, but must fix their mistakes in order to do so. She stated the team will work on their technical abilities and maintaining their energy in upcoming practices to ensure that the team is ready for the next challenge ahead.

“I think today Exeter did not beat us. We made mistakes. The only reason we lost those points was not because Exeter was crazy or amazing, it was because we were messing up. We weren’t moving, we weren’t talking, we weren’t communicating. We had a bunch of serve-receive rotations where we just weren’t able to get the ball up. We weren’t able to start that play. I think in the next practices we are going to be working on not only consistency with our energy but also technical things such as serve-received and serving and blocking, all those small details that contribute greatly to the ultimate game,” said Angbazo.

Girls Volleyball will play Northfield Mount Hermon at home on Saturday.