May 21, 2024

Sharing, caring, winning

Female athletes reflect on top sports memories
by Allyson Irish

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Phillips Academy and Abbot Academy becoming a singular institution, we asked a handful of student and alumnae athletes about their most memorable sports moments in high school.



“Winning our basketball game at A-E last year would have to be my favorite. I remember watching the girls play when I was applying to Andover in 2019, so being able to be a part of that experience was amazing. That energy is something I’ll always remember.”

Leila Boesch-Powers ’24, basketball

“I had a doubles partner who had a hearing disability. She had already won my admiration for her ability to navigate the challenges of high school academics along with this impairment. Then one day, as we stepped onto the court to play a match, she gave me a big grin and took off her hearing aids so that she would have no distractions from the sidelines and we could focus on the court. I can’t remember which team won that day, but the memory is still with me.”

—Cate Gilbane ’74, tennis

“There are so many amazing sports memories that I’ve made at Andover, but my favorite would definitely be when our team went undefeated to win the NEPSAC tournament last year. My freshman year, we were undefeated up to the finals of the NEPSAC tournament, but then we had a really heartbreaking and hard loss. After we won the championship, we kind of just sat in a circle and said, “Now what?” We were all crying, but this time around it was happy tears. It showed how much we loved and cared for each other and how far we had come as a team.”

—Lena Ciganer-Albeniz ’25, tennis

Captains Ava Davey ‘25, Emerson Buckley ‘25, Leila Boesch-Powers ’24 and Lena Ciganer-Albeniz ‘25 (Photo by David Fricke)

“My favorite sports moment at Andover was not on the field or court. It was in 1973—the first year women attended Andover. As a team captain, I was automatically a member of the Andover Athletic Council. We worked with the head of athletics to set policies and processes.

All the women captains, most of us from Abbot, concluded that we wanted a woman to be the president of the council. We huddled together, developed our strategy, and everyone decided to vote for me. What we imagined was that the men would vote for their favorite captains and friends, hence splitting their votes. By voting as a bloc, we bet that we would win. And we were right! Consequently, I became the first woman president of the group and signed all varsity letters for both men and women.”

—Rosemary Nicolosi ’75, softball

“My first Andover-Exeter girls’ varsity soccer game would have to be my favorite sports moment. Our game got moved onto the turf at home, and I felt a mixture of nerves and excitement. It was bittersweet because we won, but it was our last game with the seniors, whom I had looked up to the entire soccer season. In this moment I felt like I was part of something more; I was proud of my team and myself.”

—Ava Davey ’25, soccer

“I loved playing sports at Abbot in general, whether on a team or not, though I particularly loved playing soccer. I remember having a lot of fun playing together and the elation of winning our last varsity game my senior year.”

—Katy Gass Walker ’74, soccer

“In spring of my lower year, the varsity softball team won the Big East championship. We were such a tight-knit group that cared about one another and we had worked so hard all season. It was an awesome accomplishment for us all.”

—Emerson Buckley ’25, softball


(Top photo, Phillips Academy Archives)

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