|WEB EXCLUSIVE: SSU women cagers hope fresh start brings big results
A clean slate is what brings an excitement to every new sports season, and a fresh start is exactly what Coach Mark Rigby and the Sonoma State University women's basketball team are looking forward to this year. After a rough season last year, the Seawolves are looking to rebound with the help of some new young talent and the return of veteran players.
SSU finished last season with a 9-18 overall record and 7-15 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play, something the Seawolves know they will have to work on to reach their goals for the season.
"Our goal is to get over .500 this season, both overall and in conference," said Rigby. "Finishing top four in our conference would be nice, so that we can host a playoff game, and ultimately I would like to make it to the NCAA Tournament."
It is still too early to tell who will be the key players on the team this year, but veterans Jaclyn Bisordi and Aly Conway both are primed for big seasons. Junior guard Taylor Vigil and true freshman Travis Newman also are expected to play large roles in what could be an important year for the SSU program.
"Taylor Vigil has really improved from when she got here early in her career to where she is now, she will be a key player on our team this year," said Rigby. "And Aly Conway led the entire conference in field goal percentage last year, so we expect big things from her this season."
In the first exhibition game of the year against Cal State San Marcos, Newman scored a team-high 12 points in her first collegiate game. She showed flashes of brilliance that would excite any coach seeing a new player play for the first time.
"Travis is a very talented young lady," said Rigby. "She is 6-feet tall and will more than likely play the wing for us, and she will make an immediate impact."
The Seawolves are going to be up against some tough competition this year with the likes of CSU Monterey Bay, Cal Poly Pomona, and UC San Diego all looking to recapture the top three spots in the standings. Rigby believes UC San Diego will be the team to beat in the conference after finishing last season in third place and returning a number of key players.
"UCSD has the best team returning in the conference," said Rigby. "Plus they have one of the best point guards in the entire West Coast in senior Chelsea Carlisle."
Rigby knows all too well how important it is to have veteran leadership on the team, and he couldn't be happier to have four senior players this year that fill that role.
The excitement is building for the Seawolves as the season approaches, and only time will tell if this group of talented young athletes will be able to turn that clean slate into a historic season.