Lady Cats add seven freshmen

Cory Geer, Staff Writer

The Pitt-Johnstown women’s basketball team has to replace several seniors  from last year’s team.

The Lady Cats graduated six seniors; among them were two of the top four scorers.

The team finished with an overall record of 8-20 and 5-17 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

“Last year’s disappointment will not bring this year’s team down,” said junior guard Nikki Corcoran.

Corcoran said filling the seniors’ shoes will be challenging.

“Replacing the seniors is very difficult, but the team is confident in this year’s recruiting class, and we have very high expectations for them.”

This year’s women’s basketball team features seven freshmen recruits on the roster. One of them, freshman Katie Bolden,  from Meyersdale Area High School, Meyersdale,  says she is excited to be at Pitt-Johnstown for more than just athletic reasons.

“I came to UPJ because it has an outstanding engineering program. It’s a bonus that I am able to play basketball, and it is so close to my hometown.”

Bolden said she is excited to get the season started and is proud of how hard the team is working.

“I think practice is going really well. We just finished up preseason, and are all excited to get into the  regular season.

“The upperclassmen have really helped this year’s freshmen adjust to style of play, as well as everyday college life,” Bolden said.

Head Coach Mike Drahos said the coaching staff identified several key needs that they hoped to fill with recruits.

“I think the staff and I accomplished exactly what we set out to do; I’m excited for the season,” Drahos said.

According to Corcoran, a team that is freshmen-dominated will face obstacles.

“We have little time and a lot of things they need to (learn quickly).”

Corcoran said one of the biggest adjustments for the freshmen is the type of system the team runs.

“The system is an up-tempo, fast-paced style of play that we’ve became accustomed to throughout the years.”

Joining Bolden on the court is 6-foot forward Karington Ketterer from Ellwood City-Lincoln High School, Ellwood City, Beaver County, 6-foot 1-inch forward Nicole Olkosky from Chartiers Valley High School, Pittsburgh, and 6-foot guard Gabrielle Smith from Quigley Catholic High School, Darlington, Beaver County.

Along with guards Maddie Kollar from Greater Latrobe High School, Latrobe, PA, Maurina Nunn from Beachwood High School, Beachwood, Ohio, and Emma Spinelli from Shade High School in Central City.

The Lady Cats travel Nov. 11 to Shepherd University (W.Va.) for the 2016 Shepherd University Tournament. Taking on Shaw University (N.C.) and Winston-Salem State University (N.C.).

The Pitt-Johnstown women’s basketball team starts conference play Nov. 19 on the road with a game against Bloomsburg University and Nov. 20 at East Stroudsburg University. Followed by a non-conference game at Lincoln University Nov. 28.

The Lady Cats’ first home game is to begin at 1 p.m. Dec. 3, when they match up against Kutztown University.