E/A Weekend in the books; girls cross country runs to crown

The annual Exeter-Andover clashes produce usual drama, but Big Red girls cross country steals spotlight with second New England title in three seasons. 

Brian Muldoon
November 10, 2018
Phillips Exeter Academy Girls Soccer

Alli Hanlon '21 is greeted with a hug by Tessa Shields '21 after scoring the game-tying goal with one minute left. 

An exciting Exeter-Andover weekend and a title for the girls cross country team capped a terrific fall season for Big Red athletics Saturday. 

Girls varsity cross country ran to a first-place finish at Interschols, while the boys varsity grabbed a second-place finish on the Avon Old Farms campus in Connecticut. The boys JV and girls JV teams also earned first-place finishes on the day.

The title for the girls varsity runners was their second in the past three seasons and represents their fifth straight top-three finish at Interschols. The boys varsity was powered by Will Coogan ’20, who finished second overall in snowy, slushy conditions. The win for boys JV was their fourth in a row; the girls JV win was their second straight.

At Andover, all of the matchups between Big Red and Big Blue were extremely close. Tyler Swanbeck ’19 potted a goal with 19 minutes left in the second half to lift the boys soccer team to a 1-1 tie. Big Red nearly pulled ahead when Behaylu Barry ’19 drove a right-footed strike from 18 yards out towards the far side of the Andover goal, but the Big Blue goaltender was there to make an impressive save.

The girls soccer match was equally as exciting as Big Red trailed 2-0 with just 15 minutes left on the clock, but Exeter battled back to earn a 2-2 tie. Juliana Merullo ’19 slid a pass to Kaylee Bennett ’22, who flicked the ball through an Andover defender to the feet of Helena Lemos ’19. Lemos buried a shot from 12 yards to cut the Exeter deficit in half. With under a minute to play, Marymegan Wright ’21 was pulled down inside the Andover box, drawing a penalty kick for Big Red. Alli Hanlon ’21 tucked the penalty inside the lower, left corner to even the score at 2-2 and earn a tie for Exeter.

An early first-half goal by Andover proved to be the game-winner in a thrilling field hockey matchup. Big Red enjoyed a pair of scoring chances in the second half, but the Andover defense held strong to keep Exeter off the scoreboard and finish an unbeaten regular season. Big Blue also captured a 3-0 win over girls volleyball in front of a loud, raucous crowd in the gym.

E/A weekend concluded with the 142nd playing of the Exeter-Andover football game. Andover scored twice in the first half on their way to a 14-0 victory over Exeter. Big Red had several second-half drives stall deep in the Andover zone in brisk, blustery conditions.