Tie gives Andover share of MVC
Thursday, October, 18
By David Willis
It wasn't ideal, but Andover was going to enjoy the achievement.
"I think it's great," said Sarah Oteri. "We're both great teams and it's an honor to win with them. It's a heck of a lot better than losing."
In a game to decide the Merrimack Valley Conference title, Andover played Chelmsford to a 1-1 tie on the turf at Eugene V. Lovely Field last night.
The two teams finished as co-champs with identical 11-0-3 conference records. The teams also tied 1-1 on Sept. 27. The MVC does not play overtime in the regular season.
"To take the MVC my senior season is just awesome," said Jenn Quinlan, a tri-captain who suffered a season-ending ACL injury last spring. "Chelmsford has been our rival and they are a great team."
It was the Golden Warriors' sixth MVC title (outright or shared) in the last seven years. They did not win the title a year ago.
"I know the kids wanted it for themselves," said Andover coach Maureen Noone. "But this is a good warm-up for the postseason."
Andover jumped ahead early as marksman Oteri knocked in a loose ball off a corner 7:38 into the game. It was the sophomore's team-leading 14th goal and 16th point of the year. She has scored a point in all but three of the Warriors' games this season.
"We worked on corners all week in practice," said Oteri, who has five goals more than her nearest teammate. "I found the rebound and shot it. It's always great to score early and get ahead."
But the Lions responded five minutes later with a goal by Chelsea Gillies, and that's how the game would remain.
The even nature of the two teams was clear, as much of the final 46 minutes of the contest were played between the 20-yard lines left for football games. Each goalie was up to the challenge for the few scoring opportunities they faced.
The save of the game came near halftime when Andover's Tameka Geaslen turned away a shot from point blank.
"We probably had more skills, but they were faster," said Noone. "We haven't played a team with that speed recently. We are more a finesse team.
"This game is going to show us to be less tentative. Maybe we need to be taking more shots right away and switching fields quicker on defense."
Andover (13-0-3) visits Gloucester on Friday and hosts Waltham on Tuesday to close out the regular season.