2017-18 Girls Basketball Preview
FAIRFIELD - As Gabby Joseph goes this season, so will go the Notre Dame-Fairfield Lancers.
Joseph, the senior forward, who has signed a letter of intent to play collegiately at Iona, will lead the way as Notre Dame looks to return to the Class M tournament. She averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds for coach Eric DeMarco, who is obviously looking to even more from Joseph this season.
And he’s likely going to need everything he can get from Joseph as the Lancers will showcase several new faces in key roles this season.
“We will be young in game experience across our roster,” DeMarco wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. “However, our lack of game experience is talented, so we’ll see how quickly we learn to play to each other’s strengths and defend.”
Along with Joseph, sophomore Erin Harris, who averaged seven points and four assists last season, returns as does senior Zuquilla Mbachiantim, who averaged seven points and eight rebounds. Senior Aliyah Louis also returns with varsity experience.
Notre Dame finished with a 20-5 overall record, reaching the SWC semifinals and the Class M quarterfinals.
Coach Sara Kinsley returns three starters from last year’s 4-16 record, building blocks for a new foundation. Tri-captains Bridget O’Leary, Erin O’Leary and Bridget Paulmann - a third-team All-FCIAC pick last year - return.
“We are looking to be more successful in the FCIAC this year,” Kinsley wrote in her prospectus to the Citizen. “Our motto this year is ‘Rise as one.’ We have a variety of players who can all contribute to the team’s success.”
Other players returning include: Paige O’Connell, Erin Capodano, Julia Colica, Ira Boci, Trish Carey, Lily Traum and Amanda Schramm, who Kinsley says, “will be a strong post player for us this year.”
“We are looking forward to the upcoming season, Kinsley wrote. “The captains have taken on the leadership role and will be strong contributors on the court.”
The Falcons went 4-12 in FCIAC play last season, ending in sixth place in the East Division.
The Mustangs, who lost Daja Polk, Shania Osborne and Illana Krasniqi, never seem to rebuild, just reload and should again this season as Libby McKenna, Olivia Parisi and Kristina Krasniqi all return for coach Dave Danko.
Along with returning player Cat Allison - who will be a captain along with Parisi and McKenna -- Warde will likely simply pick up where it left off last season.
“We will be hard pressed to repeat the success of the past three seasons,” Danko wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen.
“However, this year’s squad possesses excellent team speed and will attempt to use an up-tempo attack which could prove to be successful. We will go at least eight deep. The major question, where will the points come from?”
Warde lost 40 points, 20 rebounds and five assists a game with the graduation of Polk, Krasniqi and Osborne and will need McKenna and Parisi to step up and become major contributors.
“Look for Parisi to work in the low blocks,” Danko wrote. “while the perimeter game develops. We are going to get after it.”
Warde went 14-6 in the regular season, reaching the FCIAC semifinals and the Class LL second round, finishing 16-8.