The Plattsburgh State women’s basketball team endured a season full of growing pains and learning curves, however, were able to make the best of its situation, putting themselves in a position fighting for the final playoff spot.
Unfortunately, the goal of advancing to the postseason did not pan out for the Cardinals after they split their final weekend of conference matchups. The Cards ended their season with an overall record of 10-15 (6-12) in conference; however, head coach Cheryl Cole believes that there are many positives that this team can build off of come next season.
“We were a real young team this year, so we knew would have a rollercoaster season,” Cole said. “We had our struggles and faced some adversity, but the experience is irreplaceable. This is a resilient group and I really think that they have tremendous potential to both be a great basketball team but great leaders as well.”
Unlike last year’s group that had only three freshmen, PSUC saw action from eight different freshmen this season.
“Now they have a year of experience under their belt,” Cole said about the large group of freshmen. “They learned a lot and have watched a lot and now know what it’s all about. I always say, ‘the best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores.’ They’re young, still learning and have a lot of positive energy. The core of this group is going to be special going forward.”
Despite losing both games last weekend to end their season, Cole saw her players show a lot of fight and perseverance, which resonated with her afterwards.
“We played two of our best games of the season,” Cole said. “They left it all out there, and that’s all I could ask for. It was probably our best, complete weekend against two very good teams. Obviously we wanted to win those games, but we’re making the steps we need to make. They’ll be ready come next season, and I don’t have any reason to believe that won’t happen.”
One freshman in particular that was a stand out for PSUC was forward Frannie Merkel. Merkel receives a lot of praise from her coaches and teammates and was a catalyst on and off the court for the Cards. After an outstanding rookie campaign, Merkel looks into next year with high hopes regarding the team’s overall success.
“We all learned a lot about ourselves this year,” Merkel said about the large group of incoming players. “I would say it was a great season because we benefitted so much altogether and that will help us in the long run for sure.”
Merkel gives a ton of credit to her coaches and teammates for having the season she was able to have.
“We’re all a family,” Merkel said. “I’ve learned so much about myself and what life is really about. Basketball is what carries me through, and the people that come with it have changed my life. Next year, I just want to keep learning and keep building my character while helping build others as well.”
Togetherness is something this program strongly emphasizes. Cole has been able to put together a strong group of hard-working, determined young athletes that will continue to play like they have something to prove in the seasons to come.
“The future is real bright,” Cole said. “What will really help that is how hard these players work in the off season. I want to see the hunger. They’re talkin’ it, but talk is cheap. How hard they work will tell the story of how quickly this program will get itself back to where we want to be, which is cutting down those nets again.”
Email Ezra Kachaturian at firstname.lastname@example.org