Nov. 14, 2011
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-After finishing 8-18 last season and advancing to the Little East Conference Tournament, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth women's basketball team hopes to move up in the conference race. The Corsairs will begin their 2011-12 season when they host Salve Regina Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. at the Tripp Athletic Center.
Head Coach Amanda Van Voorhis feels that the Corsairs will be improved. "This is my third recruiting class, and we've added depth to every position," said Van Voorhis. "We've struggled with not having enough ability in the backcourt, but this recruiting class has really solidified that area. We now have depth in the backcourt, as well as scoring ability and a lot of energy."
Van Voorhis feels that the improvement in the backcourt will lead to success. "The skills our guards have will give us a dimension that our program has not had for many years," said Van Voorhis. "We will have the ability to full-court press, and generate offense from our defense. Our lineup will feature two of our freshman guards, Kelsey (Garrity, Somerville, MA/Somerville HS) and Melissa (Daigle, Rockland, MA/Rockland HS), and we'll be able to play an exciting, up-tempo style. We also return a steady hand in the backcourt in Stephanie Houtman(New Bedford, MA/New Bedford HS/Bridgewater State), one of our captains and our only senior. Kelsey will start at the point, but she will have a good support system with Steph being on the court. It will make us tougher to defend and press."
Depth in the backcourt figures to be a strength. "We also have (sophomore) Megan Sheehan (Carver, MA/Carver HS), who saw some action last year, as well as (junior) Shannon Singletary (Brockton, MA/Brockton HS)," said Van Voorhis. "Shannon's defensive skills will be more useful to us with more support around her from a defensive perspective. We're also looking for big contributions from our other two freshman guards, Kate Griffin (Swansea, MA/Tabor Academy) and Erin Fahey(Salem, MA/St. Mary's (Lynn) HS), who have very high basketball IQs and have a chance to get into the starting lineup this year.
The front court should be solid. "Our front court features two of the best players in the conference in (junior) Colleen Moriarty (Canton, MA/Canton HS), who missed time due to an injury last year, and our returning Little East Conference Rookie of the Year, (sophomore) Erika Bornemann(Canton, MA/Canton HS)," said Van Voorhis. "We have a solid nucleus up front, and we have depth on the bench."
Van Voorhis said her team is ready to move up. "We've had a great pre-season, we're working extremely hard, and the team doesn't want to let this opportunity pass them by," said Van Voorhis. "The last three years, we've gone from eighth to sixth to fifth, and we're looking to advance a couple of spots and host a first round playoff game."
Kyshawn Ruff and Matt Ducharmewill join Van Voorhis' staff this season. "Kyshawn and Matt have been outstanding, they are great at delivering the message," said Van Voorhis. "They are good at teaching the skills of the game. Our staff has made a huge difference."
The Corsairs will be looking to get off to a quick start. "We open up against Salve Regina, a team we haven't beaten in three years," said Van Voorhis. "We're in a better position at this point in the season than we've been in the past. We're better prepared and conditioned and we're hungry to win."
The first semester will set the tone. "We're quite full the first semester, with 10 games, including six on the road," said Van Voorhis. "It's a manageable non-conference schedule. I would expect us to win a majority of our non-conference games this season, and that will help us for the conference schedule. This semester, we travel to Keene and host Plymouth, two teams we had success against last year. I'm anticipating a good semester."