November 30, 2016 —Success has not been a stranger to Andover’s field hockey program, with postseason appearances and production of successful college players being the norm. However, New England championships have proven elusive. Last year’s title broke a championship drought that had lasted for 22 years.
Big Blue decided not to wait for its next title, racking up a 13-3 record during the 2016 regular season before storming through the tournament and retaining the New England crown. The team’s final record of 16-3 sets the mark for the most wins in program history.
This year in the finals, Andover faced Hotchkiss, an opponent that had previously beaten PA seven times in the playoffs. Head coach Kate Dolan had been at the helm for all of those losses (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012), making this year’s win all the sweeter.
After needing two overtimes to earn a victory over Greenwich Academy in the semifinals, Big Blue found itself in another close battle in the finals. Although Andover found the goal 10 minutes into the first half, Hotchkiss responded less that two minutes later, to tie the game at 1–1. The second half saw Hotchkiss getting the better of possession and scoring opportunities, forcing Andover’s defense to stop 10 corners. Big Blue stood strong, making it through regulation still knotted at 1–1.
Andover emerged for extra time seemingly refreshed, with excellent play for both overtimes. However, neither team produced a goal, forcing a third overtime shootout. Big Blue scored on its attempt, only to see Hotchkiss tie it up with its second shooter. Andover found the net again on its fourth turn, as did Hotchkiss. Andover’s fifth shooter responded with another goal, giving Big Blue the advantage. The stage was set for goalie Olivia Keefe ’17, who hadn’t even played in the net before heeding Dolan’s suggestion last spring and taking up the position.
Keefe seized the moment, thwarting the fifth attempt by Hotchkiss, but the official ruled a foul had occurred, forcing a retry. Keefe stood tall again, sealing the Andover victory and a second straight title.
Elizabeth Welch ’18 earned tournament MVP honors. Captain Beth Krikorian ’17, Charlotte Welch ’17, and Olivia Keefe ’17 were also named to the all-tournament team.
Head coach Kate Dolan’s recap of the championship win >>