FALL WARRIORS

CARL RUSSO/Staff photoStar Emma Azzi and the Andover girls soccer team were prepared to star playing games last weekend.

The fall high school sports season has been anything but predictable so far.

After months of wondering if there even would be a fall season, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all sports other than football, girls swimming and cheer were given the go-ahead to play.

Then, as games were set to begin at the start of October, the Merrimack Valley Conference suspended boys and girls soccer, field hockey and volleyball due to an increase in coronavirus cases in many MVC communities — but not Andover.

Sports were on again last weekend, temporally approved by the MVC, and Golden Warrior teams — other than football, cheer and swimming, which will still play in “Fall II” from Feb. 22 to April 25 — were prepared to begin playing games. Golf and cross country already started play.

The Andover boys soccer team delivered a remarkable turnaround in 2019, going from two wins in 2018 to 11 wins and a trip to the Division 1 North semifinals last fall, the program’s deepest postseason run since 2003.

The Golden Warriors graduated plenty of talent, but return the likes of Anton Pace, who scored the game-tying goal in the team’s tournament upset of St. John’s Prep last year, and Anthony Previte (5 goals last year).

The girls soccer team is coming off its best season in nearly two decades, advancing to the Division 1 North finals for the first time since 2001.

The Golden Warriors graduated three stars, but return 15 players from last year’s squad, including Emma Azzi (7 goals last fall, tied for team-high), and reigning Merrimack Valley Conference Coach of the Year Meghan Matson.

The Andover girls field hockey team is always among the best in New England, and likely would have been poised for a state championship run if COVID had not cancelled the postseason.

The Warriors return Hanna Medwar, one of the most accomplished field hockey players in state history, who has committed to three-time defending Division 3 national champion Middlebury. Medwar scored 17 goals last fall and has 49 for her career.

Also back is Heather Graham, who also scored 17 goals last fall, while Emma Reilly, a Division 1 college prospect, had five goals. Returning goalie Paige Gillette had 14 shutouts with a 0.71 goals-against-average and 91% save percentage last year.

The golf team is coming off a huge 2019 when it went 14-1 in the regular season, then placed sixth at Division 1 states. The Golden Warriors return the likes of Cade Cedorchuck, who shot a 78 and tied for 15th at Division 1s, and Nick Ventura and Evan Giggey, who shot an 81 and 83 respectively at Division 1s.

The girls cross county team returns a pair budding standout in sophomore Molly Kiley, who won the 2-mile in 11:28.61 at Division 1 states last winter, and junior Leila Boudries, who excelled on relays in winter track. The boys cross country team returns seniors Charlie Beams, Zack Nepomnayshy and Michael Koral.

The Andover volleyball team will look to bounce back after a tough 2019. They return the likes of seniors Maddie Tutwiler, Abbie Ledoux and Hannah Goff,

Golf keeps rolling

The Andover High golf team stayed hot with a pair of victories last Monday. The Golden Warriors scored a 242, out-distancing Haverhill (250) and Billerica (276).

Leading the way for the Golden Warriors were Evan Giggey (36), Cade Cedorchuck (38), Steve Ingram (41), Nick Ventura (42) and Noah Farland (42).

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The Andover cross country teams opened last Wednesday against Lowell. The boys fell 15-50 and the girls fell 18-40.

Leila Boudries led the way for the Golden Warrior girls, taking third overall in 20:00. Abby Redington (20:56) was seventh.

Matt Serrano (8th, 16:27) and Pat McCarthy (9th, 16:31) were the top Andover boys finishers.

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TWITTER: @DWillisET

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