Young girls team looks to ‘compete on every play’
The Lady Hornets finished last season at 8-14 overall and are tasked with trying to improve on that record even though they lost their top three scorers from last season to graduation. Add to that an ACL injury to Megan Navitsky, who was fourth on the team in scoring last season, and there’s a lot of rebuilding for the team to do in the 2018-19 season.
Gone are Kathryn DeJohn, Cayley Grabowski, Bri Hart, Leah Tannous and CC Wippel. Grabowski was injured for all of last season and spent the year serving as a student-coach under first-year coach Kelsey Gallagher.
The other four combined for just over 22 points per game last season and provided experience on the court.
In practice, Gallagher is stressing the same things that she did last season. The prime focus is that practices are not be simple, relaxed times. The team is pushed hard to compete on every play as Gallagher stresses hustling for every loose ball and not taking one play off, even if it is practice. While the focus is the same, Gallagher is seeing better results from the team in this year’s practices than she saw in her first season.
“The girls seem to be more competitive this season in practice than last season,” said Gallagher. “One thing is that they’re pressing each other to be better and we’ve been able to put in some new things this season. The result is that we’ll be able to compete against a lot of teams this season.”
On the varsity roster, five of the 12 players are either freshmen or sophomores, with just two seniors in Kyreana Anthony and Anne Glowacki. Juniors Alyssa Burkhart (3.7 ppg) and Brooke Wunderler (3.6 PPG) return and figure to up their offensive production this season. Newcomers to the roster include junior center Stephanie Roccerberton, sophomore forwards Michelle Cox and Gabby Martin and sophomore guard Marah Sisonick. Freshman guard Megan Petrizzi is also a new addition.
While Gallagher expects her team to compete every night, she also realizes that the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference is very competitive and the Skyline Division may be the toughest in the league. Last season, Central Catholic, Nazareth, Northampton and Parkland all finished with identical 7-3 division records and 11-5 conference records. Overall, the Vikettes won 18 games, Nazareth had 17 wins and Northampton and Parkland finished the season with 15 wins each.
“You know that every night you’re going to have to battle,” said Gallagher. “We just have to go out and show that we can compete with these teams even though when you just look at what happened last season and look at the players we lost, it looks like it’s going to be a tough road. I really believe that we’ll be better this season.”
The Horents’ season opens Saturday with a nonconference game against Northwestern at home and the first conference game comes on Tuesday when Emmaus travels to Parkland. Much like the Hornets, the Lady Trojans are a younger team than in the past and are adjusting to a new coach in former Northampton boys coach Ed Ohlson. The Konkrete Kids come to Emmaus next Friday night, giving Emmaus two of the tougher EPC opponents in their first three games.