The 2007-08 season for the Lawrence University women’s basketball team begins this Saturday with a scrimmage at Concordia. With a preseason prediction of fifth in the Midwest Conference, the team feels they have something to prove.Entering her first season as the Vikings’ head coach, Michelle Walsh brings focus and technical knowledge to the court. Walsh has been instituting new concepts on the court and will look to fit her personnel where they can best help the team.
The Vikes lost four seniors to graduation, including two starters from last season, Molly Bouressa and Christine Brice. Bouressa was a multi-dimensional player starting at small forward. Brice, a two-year starter, was known for her defense and her leadership on and off the court. Chelsea Barnard will be missed for her shot and the loss of a “Board Machine,” as Jenny Stoner called her, will leave a gap. Stephanie Kliethermes will be missed for the energy she brought off the bench.
This year’s squad has four seniors: Jenny Stoner, Stephanie Kramer, Kelly Mulcahy, and Carrie Van Groll. Stoner brings her tenacious defense and her ability to run the court, which gained her All Midwest Conference honors.
Stoner made improvements to her offensive game over the summer and the Vikings will look to her to take more shots. Stoner will enter her second year as captain joined by Mulcahy and Van Groll. Both Van Groll and Mulcahy received All-Conference honors last year, and Van Groll will look to improve on her stellar playing from last year.
Stoner commented, “We need Carrie to be a major offensive threat this year.” Mulcahy will bring her strong offensive presence in the post and vocal leadership to the floor. Kramer made great strides in her game over the summer and will be looking to have a strong senior campaign.
Erin Henzi, Margaret Rhatican and Caresse Reiland will be looked upon to build on the experiences of last year and fill larger roles left from the loss of seniors. The Vikings bring in five athletic freshmen, whose energy will be needed on the court as the season progresses.
The Vikings are finally able to practice with a full team after two weeks with only six players. The team has five members who compete in fall sports and were not able to join the team until last week, leaving the Vikes with limited time to prepare for Saturday.
The team will have their first chance to show off their abilities this Saturday at Concordia. On November 16 they will travel to the North Central Tournament in Naperville, Ill.
They will play Clarkson on Friday and take on Webster or North Central the next day. November 20 brings the Vikes up against Marian at home, and November 30 and December 1 the team will play their first conference games on the road. On the 30th the team takes on Lake Forest.
Lawrence split with Lake Forest last year in the regular season, but LU fell to Lake Forest in a close game in the conference tournament. Lake Forest is ranked second in the Midwest Conference poll, a chance for the Vikings to prove they are underrated. December 1 will take the team to Monmouth.
Monmouth was ranked fourth in the Midwest Conference preseason poll. The Vikings will try to prove themselves to the league on these two nights. With only four teams entering the conference tournament, wins on the road are huge.