KSC Seniors lead Owls to 6-1 record before winter break
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Many teams in college sports struggle with the task of filling the void of graduated captains.
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Coaches have a hard time replacing leaders who helped their team succeed on and off the court.
Luckily, for Coach Keith Boucher and the women’s basketball team, replacing graduated players was not an issue this season.
“We have everybody back from last year. And we have a solid group of seven freshmen who all can get playing time and contribute to the team’s success. And we have a solid group of veterans with four seniors,” Senior Captain Sarah Laudano said.
She added that she and her senior counterparts are all used to the program and they know what their coach expects after playing for him for so long.
The four seniors on the team – Sarah Laudano, Courtney Cirillo, Meghan Farrell, and Nikki Cote – have played together for two years now, as the upperclassmen and leaders of their team.
Meghan Farrell comes from Chester, Vt., where she played high school basketball for Green Mountain High School.
She has played with the Lady Owls for four years now. This is Farrell’s second year as a captain.
In concerns of leading her team again, Farrell said, “It doesn’t feel like anything new. It is our second year leading this team. We are a little more confident in leading the team this year. But we also have a great bunch of kids that make our job easy.”
Courtney Cirillo comes from Windsor Locks, Conn. She played high school basketball for the Windsor Locks High School Raiders.
She has played for Coach Boucher and the Owls for four years as well. Cirillo was also a captain last year.
“I know that the underclassmen all believe in me a little more this year and that makes me confident in our team,” Cirillo said.
Sarah Laudano is from North Haven, Conn. She attended North Haven High School where she starred as a four-year varsity starting guard.
Laudano is used to leading a team, this being her second year as a captain, as well.
“This is our second year as captains, so he really expects us to lead our team on and off the court especially because we are very young,” Laudano said. “Coach has high standards for us but I think so far we have been doing a pretty good job of keeping everyone on track and keeping the team focused.”
Last but certainly not least, Nikki “Nugget” Cote is from Ashford, Conn.
Last year, Cote transferred from Eastern Connecticut University, where she also played basketball.
Cote’s vocal leadership on the court helps her succeed as the starting point guard of the Owls.
“Now that I’m starting, I feel a little more responsibility just because I know that I need to be the vocal leader on the court. I have to be an off the court leader as well,” Cote said.
She also said that there’s definitely a little more responsibility just because last year she was on the bench and she had to lead the team that way.
She added that it’s just a different role for her this year.
“Because we have been captains for two years in a row now, I think the whole team is on the same page. It’s not just the captains either. Even our other senior, Nikki Cote, she knows she’s a leader by example being as old as she is anyways,” Farrell said of her senior counterpart.
Getting used to the program is a problem that all underclassmen struggle with when entering the realm of college sports, but the transition is much easier when you have four solid leaders to help do that.
“We have a lot of young people and it’s important for us to make sure that they get to know the program. We want to make sure that they start off right in every aspect,” Cirillo said concerning the seven freshmen on the team.
Leading this team two years in a row, the four seniors actually feel less pressure this season than they did last season.
“Last year, it was our first year being the captains and it was a rebuilding year. And we just want to make sure the program keeps moving in the right direction,” Farrell said.
She continued, “And when it’s your first year, with all of that responsibility and when you know it’s a rebuilding year, you feel a lot of pressure. This year, there’s a lot of pressure taken off our shoulders.”
The four seniors have no lack of confidence in themselves, rightfully so.
Team chemistry, combined with great leadership, makes this Lady Owls team successful this season.
“I think leadership has a little bit to do with our success this season. But I also think it has a lot to do with team chemistry. We are meshing together well,” Cote said.
Cote also said that the four seniors seeing the game together for so long allowed them to bring everyone else closer together.
The Keene State College women’s basketball team is 6-1 this season and it hopes to continue the success throughout the coming weeks of LEC play. With four leaders like Cote, Farrell, Cirillo, and Laudano, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.
Michelle Bertiaume can be contacted at email@example.com