The WRA community gathered in the Chapel to honor and recognize the 2018 fall student-athletes.
Varsity Basketball - Girls
Varsity Season Record: 7-13
Captains: Brooke Hovan ’17, Julia Gasbarre ’17, Caleigh Tiley ’17
Highlights: The game against Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (CVCA), which was most demonstrative of their teamwork and proof of a season of hard work; Jade DuVal ‘18 scoring her 1,000th point; the overnight trip to play against Culver Academies.
Athletic Awards: Most Valuable Players: Jade DuVal and Abby King ’18; Most Improved Player: Madison Coleman ’17; Spirit Award: Caleigh Tiley
What made the 2016-17 girls basketball season such a great one was the teamwork, the exuberance of the players, the bonding and love shared amongst the team, and the team-building moments that happened on and off the court.
For Head Coach Emily Thews Baldridge, it wasn’t about the number of baskets scored — though she is very proud of her team’s talents — it was the positive experience of the entire season as a whole.
“Our schedule was much more competitive this year and our competition was a lot tougher,” said Thews Baldridge. “But we came together and there were victories even in the losses. Our second to last game against Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy is one that stands out. One of the things we worked on all season was putting together four quarters where we came together and worked as a team. Even though we lost to CVCA, that was the most complete game we played all season — in terms of hustle, intensity, the team coming together — and it was just as exciting for me as it was for the team. We just knew this is the team we’ve been waiting for all season. It was a great way to finish.”
Another season highlight was the moment co-captain Jade DuVal scored her 1,000th point.
“That’s an incredible milestone for any basketball athlete and was such a huge accomplishment for Jade,” said Thews Baldrige. “And it was so exciting, on a team level, to see the support she has from all of her teammates, to see how happy she was. It was a really great moment for everyone.”
Along with DuVal, standout players include Abby King, point guard and a three-year starter for the team. She and DuVal will lead the team as co-captains next season.
“Abby is a really consistent player,” said Thews Baldrige. “She’s not only one of our higher scoring players, she does a lot of great things for the team that wouldn’t show up on the stat sheet. And I’d say that’s true of really all of the seniors.”
This was an especially memorable season for Thews Baldridge as it was her fourth year as head coach, and her first year saying goodbye to players she’s known since their freshman year.
“It makes it special,” she said. “I’ve worked with some of these girls for such a long time — Brooke Hovan, Julia Gasbarre, Katy Koo ’17 — I saw them grow from JV to varsity.”
She commends all of her senior-players for the exceptional leadership they showed and the great example they set for the younger players. Overall, Thews Baldridge is proud of the team as a whole — from the freshman players all the way up to the seniors.
“What was so great about this group was how they were so supportive of each other,” she said. “They all had fun together. One of the high-water marks of every season is the overnight trip to the game against Culver Academies — it’s always something that’s really fun and a really good bonding experience for the girls, and this year was no different. There was a varsity team sleepover at one of the captain’s houses, and throughout the season, there was just a lot of bonding between the girls.”
Though she is saying goodbye to seven seniors, she feels good about next season.
“We have Jade and Abby coming back, and I’m feeling really good about the players — especially freshmen Jai DuVal and Megan Hovan; they got some pretty significant playing time for varsity,” she said. “Players like Nita Reddy ’18, Tia Forsyth ’18, and then there’s even some good development that happened on the JV team — so we’re looking to bring some of those girls up too. I think this really bodes well for the future of the program.”
Varsity Season Record: 9-11
Captains: Sarah Forhan ’15, Catherine Berry ’15 and Abby Wyman '15
Highlights: Winning four of the last five games at the end of the season, including a two-point win over CVCA in last game after a come back from a 10-point deficit in the third quarter.
Athletic Awards: Most Valuable Player: Catherine Berry '15; Most Improved Player: Zoe Leciejewski '15; Coaches Award: Abigail King '18; Spirit Award: Sarah Forhan '15
The 2014-15 season was a big year for the girls basketball program. After finishing last year with just three wins, the players stepped it up and worked hard, tripling their wins this year. The six seniors on the team this season – Abby Wyman, Sarah Forhan, Catherine Berry, Zoe Leciejewski, Sydney King and Hannah McKenzie – did a great job of leading the team, keeping everyone focused and the intensity level high.
Freshman Abby King also had a big season as the leading scorer, but the next three top scorers – Catherine Berry, Sydney King, Zoe Leciejewski – were all within 14 points of one another. This type of balanced scoring was a big part of the successes that the team had.
The team also had a strong bench and the level of intensity often increased when they subbed. The players persevered and stayed focused through the end of the season even with having a lot of canceled and delayed games due to the weather.
Second-year Coach Emily Thews-Baldridge is proud of how the team came together this year, with great improvements that she hopes to continue to build upon. She said, “We are looking forward to big contributions from our new captains, Kristina Kaszei ’16 and Annie McArn ‘16. They both stepped up this year and really improved and contributed to the success of the team. We are also looking to Julia Gasbarre ‘17 and Brooke Hovan ’17 in the backcourt, and Abby King and Felicity White both had strong freshman seasons and we are looking for big things from them next year.
Despite losing six seniors, the team has a lot of talent returning for the next season and will continue to build momentum.