Surviving the graduation bug

If you could describe this year’s Wilfrid Laurier University’s women’s basketball team in one word it would be simple — rookie.

After losing Renata Adamczyk, Megan Grant and Mallory Kohlmeier to graduation, their current roster shows a cast of ten out of 13 girls in either their first or second year.

Last year’s surprisingly successful season has set the bar extremely high, but is it too tall a task for this year’s young team?

The loss of their veterans does not worry head coach Paul Falco as he feels that there is enough experience to pass onto the rookies from their victorious season last year.

“I think that all those girls that have come back [from last year] realize what it takes to get there, and they realize how hard and how greedy you have to be to advance to the nationals,” Falco said. “If we can pass that on to the new girls and pass on that level to compete that could be one of our main strengths.”

Being such a young team will force added pressure on the veterans of this team. Falco has the utmost confidence in the two team captains (both in their fourth year), Amber Hillis, the Hamilton native, and Christa Mancino from Port Colborne.

“We are going to rely on [their] experience,” said Falco. “[They are] going to have a more important leadership role.”

With a whopping six rookies this year, the team’s future is shaping up to be a bright one. “They are a pretty diverse group,” Falco said. “They bring some good size to the guard position, especially with Shelbie Kurt, Sam Jacobs and Courtney Bruce.”

There is no doubt that in a few years, this team will be a force to be reckoned with, but for the present, there is a definite learning curve that must be overcome.

The team is not blind to this fact, but their focus is to simply improve as the season continues.

“We are going to have to be patient with them,” Falco said. “It’s a tough transition from high school to university ball.”

Looking forward to the upcoming season, the Golden Hawks have their eye on their rivals from last year: Windsor.

“Windsor was at the top last year. They won the nationals,” Falco said.

“They’re expected to be quite strong again this year. So I think [that] without a doubt they will be the team to beat in our division.”

The young hopefuls will kick off this much-anticipated season on Nov. 11 against Ryerson in Toronto.

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