While the Lady
Vikes earned a respectable 17-11 record on the season completed
in February, they didn't attain their goal of a Region 19 title,
last achieved two years ago. It was 2006 all over again, as they
fell to Essex County Community College on Feb. 26 by a score of
82-77 in double-overtime.
coach Mike Tenaglia, who has finished his 17th season with the Vikings,
"I am a bit disappointed to be knocked out again in the first
round - to Essex at Essex." But, he said, his players never
gave up. "We played well; we didn't quit. With a couple of
breaks going our way, it would have been us going on." (Essex
lost in the semi-final round to Harcum Jr. College; Harcum lost
to Union in the Region 19 final; and Union lost to the Community
College of Rhode Island in the Northeast District title game.)
that the game of women's basketball is changing. "The game
is getting very up-tempo and much more physical," he said.
"The players are taller, faster and stronger. That means that
our players must get up to speed very quickly."
Vikings squad were sophomore forward Patti Foley and freshman center
Charlene Phelps. Foley, who made history at Mercer when she was
named a pre-season All-American, achieved another milestone when
she scored the 1,000th point of her Mercer career in a game against
Bergen Community College on January 27. Both women were named to
the All-Region 19 team. Foley, also named a post-season All-American,
is only the third Mercer woman to attain this goal. Foley will transfer
and play basketball for Georgian Court College in the fall.
With only ten
on the roster at the start of the season, Tenaglia asked for 100
percent from each and every Vikings player. Contributing to the
team's success were guards Nicole Hover and Christine Calabrese,
and forward Rosie Fedak. Sophomore Krystal Schnarr joined the squad
this year, drawing on her natural athletic ability to make a solid
contribution at guard. (Schnarr also played soccer and softball.)
After losing two key defenders in the second half of the season,
Tenaglia recruited two additional guards, Beth Perez and Jorunn
Evju, who added much needed depth to the lineup.
With guard Krista
Regan the only freshman likely to return to the line-up for next
season, Tenaglia is scouting the talent in the region. He notes
that Mercer sometimes loses out to community colleges that have
on-campus housing and can draw from a bigger pool. "We truly
are a local team, drawing mostly from Mercer County," he said.
Despite a year
that placed them in the middle of the pack, Tenaglia predicts that
the sophomores will leave Mercer with feelings of accomplishment.
"They faced lots of adversity, and they learned to play through
it," he said. "Life is not always fair. Sometimes you
work harder than you would have liked and do more than your share,
but these are life lessons." Tenaglia credits the college with
providing his players excellent support - in their athletic and