Coach Mike Tenaglia is competitive and he teaches his players to
be competitive. So the season had a bittersweet ending as the Lady
Vikes bowed out of the Region 19 tournament in the opening round
on Feb. 23 with a 65-53 loss to Essex Community College. "We
ended the season too early," Tenaglia said, noting that this
was a repeat scenario of the previous two seasons - a loss to Essex
in the quarterfinal round.
Finishing the year with a 16-14 record, the Lady Vikes were competitive
in most games, but some opponents simply had more athleticism, according
to Tenaglia. "The speed of the game has increased. Outside
shooting is relied on. Working in the weight room in the off-season
has become essential," he said.
Tenaglia observed that lessons learned on the basketball court are
a microcosm of life. "It's a competitive world. You compete
to win, not just to play and learn. You are going to get beat in
some cases, but the goal is always to win."
Key to Mercer's wins was sophomore forward Jeannette Bell, a pre-season
All-American who kept the Vikings' inside game competitive. With
the loss of two starters after the fall semester, other players
stepped up and made a difference in numerous contests. Among the
contributors were guard Krista Regan, who was team captain, guards
Carly Blanton, Becky Elliot, and Jenna Winston, and forwards Lauren
Jacobsen and Amora Dawson White.
The team flexed its muscles in important wins against Middlesex,
Essex, Lackawanna, Salem, Del Tech and Dean (MA), but was unable
to regain the elite status it enjoyed several seasons back. Still,
Tenaglia is optimistic about the solid foundation he has built this
year with Blanton, Elliot, Jacobsen and Winston. At least four new
recruits are expected to join the roster for the 2008-09 season.
Tenaglia was assisted by Debbie Schopfner and Leslie Mauer.