SEASON PREVIEW: KENNEDY CHRISTIAN
A trip to the playoffs can do wonders for a team. In Kennedy Christian's case, the Lady Golden Eagles' trip to the District 10 title game, and subsequent trek to the PIAA postseason may have simply been precursors to what this year's squad may achieve.
Father Rick Tomasone (342-83 career), who knows something about winning teams, seems to think the 2000-01 edition of the Lady Golden Eagles is a winner. Coming off a strong 22-6 campaign, Tomasone's team lost just a pair of last year's players in graduated seniors Alicia Camouse and Leslie Necastro.
And although he may have had the talent to replace them already with his strong underclass ranks, Kennedy received a huge shot in the arm when a pair of transfers entered the mix, both of whom should be key additions.
Senior Barbora Fabianova (6-0 guard/forward) and sophomore Leanne Payne (5-5 guard) join an already solid foundation.
"Those are two kids that will make a big difference for us," Tomasone said. "(Fabianova) probably will start at some point, she just has to learn a little bit. She'll play either forward spot. (Leanne) is a real hard-nosed competitor. She's the type of kid that won't back down from anyone, so she adds toughness right away."
The duo joins senior returnees Erin Frankovich (6-2 forward), Katie Fill (5-8 swing), Maureen Meier (5-5 guard) and Laura Steltzer (5-5 guard), who all were vital parts of Kennedy's playoff team last season.
Fill, Frankovich, Steltzer and Meier are likely locks as starters for the Golden Eagles, and according to Tomasone, 5-6 junior guard Leanne Madden's dedication to her game in the offseason will likely earn her some starts on a team that Tomasone admits may not commit to the same five starters all season.
Joining the core group is a solid supporting cast, to be led by junior Carla Mastrian (5-7 forward), who Tomasone said is currently a week behind because of battling pneumonia recently. Sophomores Becca Gasiewicz (5-10 forward) and Lauren Friedrich (5-8 forward) will also contend for time.
"I think we're far ahead of where we were last year at this time, mainly with experience," Tomasone said. "Our young kids have made a lot of progress since last year. Experience makes a world of difference. A lot of these things they've already seen, like the playoffs. I think that will allow us to be a little more diverse. When you have a young team, you work on fundamentals. A team like this allows you to be a little more diverse. Becca and Lauren made a terrific amount of progress over the summer."
Also looking for varsity minutes this season will be Tina George (5-1 Jr. guard), and the freshmen duo of Sarah Gill (5-5 guard) and Leah Mastrian (5-9 guard/forward).
"We are a deep team. We will have 10 players," Tomasone said. "Even our freshmen are coming along."
Kennedy moved back down to Class A for the coming season, although Tomasone said he doesn't expect much of a difference until playoff time.
"For our side of the MCAC, we played all of those same teams last year," he said. "Scouting wise, I would have to scout mainly the French Creek Valley, which is much easier than driving up to Girard."
A further potential advantage with regard to the postseason, according to Tomasone, is that some of the top WPIAL girls teams from last season moved up from Class A to AA.
Tomasone is assisted by Dolly Szugye, Dan Hromyak and Jim Pitts. -- By Herald sports writer Nate Summers
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