Sharks Basketball tip-off: 2013 season preview

By Nafeesa Connolly
Staff Writer

Eight first-years, four sophomores, and three seniors: this 15-women roster is non-other than the 2013 Simmons Sharks Basketball team, who kicked off the season last Tuesday, Oct. 15, with their first practice.

Last season, the team welcomed five first-years and retained four for this season – an improvement from 2011’s three first-years, who have quit since, leaving the team with no junior class.

This season’s eight first-years, Kim Hixon, Liz Brasa, Ashley McAdams, Kelsey Heavener, Katherine Kroeger, Megan Edwards, Jamie Zoldy, and Meghan Hall, will help the team achieve their goal of making it to conference playoffs.

“[I’m] definitely excited to see what the freshmen bring to the team and we’re planning on playing a lot of man to man defense which I am so excited about,” said senior captain Desh Perera.

Head Coach Kristen Rasmussen, who returns for her third season with the Sharks, said the team’s four sophomores Nicole Alberghini, Jen Janiak, Gracie Rolfe, and Eliza Henley, will bring knowledge and share team expectations to the underclasswomen.

“They are great leaders to our freshmen class. We are looking for big things from our sophomores this year,” she said.

As seasoned veterans, the Sharks’ three senior captains, Leah Davis, Hannah May, and Desh Perera, have the thumbs up from Coach Rasmussen with their level of commitment. She said that with such a young team, the seniors play an important role in stepping up and leading the way.

“The coaching staff is very proud of our seniors and we know that the sky is the limit. They are prepared to make this team better every day,” she said.
The Sharks’ first drill of the season was the Simmons Seven. This one-mile run around the court challenges the team to complete the mile in seven minutes or less in order to practice.

It was a successful run this year, with all players finishing in less than seven minutes.

“They have been working hard before the first day of practice,” said Rasmussen.
Since then, Rasmussen said practices have been going very well, and that the players are excited and ready to get to work, offering plenty of energy and enthusiasm.

The team saw its first “Midnight Madness” in program history last Thursday, Oct. 17, hosted by the college’s Office for Student Leadership and Activities and Simmons Athletics. The 10 p.m. – 12 a.m. event introduced the team to the student body and hyped up fans for the upcoming season with freebies, food, prizes, and games.

Last season, the Sharks went 4-18 overall and were unable to place in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) playoff bracket. In 2011, Rasmussen’s first year coaching the Sharks, the team went 4-20, unable to make playoffs then as well.

This year may be the team’s chance to earn a seed.

“I know that we will shock a lot of teams in the GNAC.  We are young, but we are determined to get better every time we step on the court,” said Rasmussen.

The Sharks will prep for their season with a scrimmage at Eastern Nazarene College on Friday, Nov. 8, and one on home court against Wentworth Institute of Technology, Tuesday, Nov. 12.

The team’s first game is Friday, Nov. 15, at Maine Maritime Academy, 5:30 p.m.