Lady Mats Slam Dunk the Competition

D. Louie

Dani Vignos and Kelsey Williams

After losing to Campolindo in the NCS quarter finals last year, the Lady Mats basketball team started this season fresh with a new coach, Kelly Sopak, talented young players, and newfound unity.

Miramonte kicked off their season by crushing Hercules on Dec. 3, 70-30. They went on to defeat Sonoma Valley on Dec. 8, 58-46. Continuing the winning streak, they beat Drake, 68-46, on Dec. 9, and El Molino, 68-22, on Dec. 12. Unfortunately on Dec. 11, the Lady Mats lost to McKinleyville, 51-54.

Coach Sopak has big goals and a plan of execution in mind for this season.

“He has every practice planned out for the rest of the season. He’s very specific, which makes it a challenge, but the structure makes us very productive, and I think we will have great results from our hard work,” said starting point guard Liza Katz ‘11.  “Everyone respects our coach and no one challenges his authority because we trust that he knows what he’s doing.”

Sopak films every game and has a recorder with him at all times so the team is always learning from their mistakes. So far this has all paid off, considering their current record of 4-1.

The team has high hopes of winning league and going to NCS this year.

“We are taking it one game at a time. Every game will be a test, but I definitely think we can win the league title,” said captain Stephanie Golden ‘10.

However, this could be a challenge considering the loss of Chelsey Christensen ‘09, leaving Golden as the only post player.

“We lost all our post players except for me, but it’s okay because we play a four out and one in format,” said Golden.

Their starting line up varies with each game, but usually consists of Katz, Golden, Alyssa Johanson ‘11, Lauren Kimble ‘10, and Kristine Miller ‘10.

New additions to the varsity team this year include Taylor Kizziee ‘12, Carly Gill ‘13, Cassie Sakai ‘11, Janine Loutzenhiser ‘12, Andrea Say ‘11, and Katherine Gunn ‘12. The team may be young and lacking in height, but their determination and speed outweigh this disadvantage.
“We have younger players who don’t have a whole lot of experience, but we are still a strong team. People are going to underestimate us, but I think we will hold our own,” said Kimble.
A key factor this year is the team’s great chemistry.

“We are already having a great time. We are so excited about the little things, such as getting team shoes and sweats,” said Katz. “Everyone gets along so well, which  contributes to our success on the court.”

To further team bonding and competitive game experience, they will compete in a tournament in San Diego during winter break for four days, playing in a total of four games. Not only are they looking forward to the intense competition, but also to a trip to the San Diego Zoo with the men’s basketball team.

With their motivation, confidence, and work ethic higher than ever, the Lady Mats are paving their way to victory.

Tonight at 6:30 p.m. the Lady Mats will take on College Park at Northgate.