Is this going to be the year that someone knocks off Emma Willard?
The Jesters won their fourth consecutive Central Hudson Valley League championship last season, and second-year coach Tony Holsten has five seniors, including 6-foot-1 Sarah Hutcherson, back.
“It hurts a lot to lose two senior guards, but if we fill those spots, hopefully, we can get close to achieving the results we had last year,” said Holsten.
Hutcherson missed a lot of the 2007-08 season with injuries, but when healthy, she’s one of the best inside players in the league. Seniors Caroline McManus and Sarah Mullen are expected to fill the guard spots left vacant by the graduation of Libby Schultz and Alexis Murphy.
The Jesters won’t have an easy road to their fifth consecutive title. One of the biggest obstacles standing in the way will be Germantown. The Clippers were 11-3 in the league last year and have a veteran lineup, led by seniors Suzy Wright and junior center Taylor Race, who was the leading scorer last year.
“We should be very strong,” said Germantown coach Christina Pudney. “We also have good size. I can go four-deep inside, for a change.”
Waterford-Halfmoon doesn’t have a lot of depth, but the Fordians do have junior Jackie Sorenson back. Sorenson, who has started on the varsity since the eighth grade, averaged 15.5 points per game last year. Junior Alisa Walek will get help inside from Alex Brazill, a transfer from Catholic Central who will man the post position.
“Our biggest problem is going to be our size,” said Fordians coach Jack Dubois. “Most of the other teams have some big players back.”
For the second straight year, Berlin will have to replace a 1,000-point scorer. Two years ago, it was Raychul Dooley. Now, it’s Jess Knuetter.
“We’ve got to find scoring from somewhere,” said Berlin coach Fleda Berschwinger, who welcomes back starters Angel Reed (guard) and Lindsay Depaolis (forward).
New Lebanon graduated just one senior, and senior guard/foward Jessica Colon is the most experienced player. But the Tigers lack depth, and can’t afford any injuries.
Paige Rebeor takes over the varsity program at Loudonville Christian, which has just two seniors on its roster. Jensen Nicolaisen, a 5-11 sophomore who started as a freshman last year, could emerge as the Eagles’ top offensive threat.
Doane Stuart will also be very young, with just one senior and two juniors on its roster.
With Albany Academy moving to the Colonial Council, the CHVL will return to one division this season.
Coach: Fleda Berschwinger.
Top returning players: Angel Reed, senior, guard; Lindsay Depaolis, senior forward, Katlyn Willis,
senior forward; Erin Hogan, senior guard.
Coach: Pat Light.
Top returning players: Renee Matthews, sophomore, guard; Telaya Sturdivant, sophomore, forward; Hanna Hohenstein-Flack, sophomore guard; Jessica Correra, senior, guard.
Coach: Tony Holsten.
Top returning players: Sarah Hutcherson, senior, forward/center; Caroline McManus, senior, guard; Robin Levy, senior, forward; Sarah Mullen, senior, guard; Crystal Painter, senior, forward.
Coach: Christina Pudney.
Top returning players: Suzy Wright, senior, guard; Taylor Race, junior, center; Caitlin Briggs, senior, forward; Melissa Fuchs, junior, forward.
Coach: Don Glennan.
Top returning player: Leah Pitman, junior.
Coach: Brian Ford.
Top returning player: Danielle Green, senior, guard.
Coach: Paige Rebeor
Top returning players: Rosie Burgher, junior, guard; Morgan Lansing, junior, guard; Jensen Nicolaisen, sophomore, forward; Marissa Forte, senior, guard; Chelsea Wagner, junior, guard.
Coach: Mike Springer.
Top returning players: Jessica Colon, senior, guard/forward; Geneva Furlano, junior, guard/forward; Alana Carpinello, sophomore, center; Hannah Springer, junior, guard; Maggie Springer, junior, forward.
Coach: Jack Dubois.
Top returning players: Jackie Sorenson, junior, center; Alisa Walek, junior, forward.