This year, the women’s basketball team has had to overcome more than a few obstacles. Whether it’s facing injuries or underclassman handling, a larger role than usual, the team has been constantly adjusting. Despite these circumstances, the team has put themselves in an excellent position this season as they look to head into the postseason.
Losing players to injury in the beginning of the season has not stopped the Valiants from overcoming adversity. They currently sit in third place thus far in the MAC Freedom Conference. The foundation of this team has been built through head coach Kate Vlahakis, who continues to construct a young group of girls in her sixth season with Manhattanville.
In the 2017-2018 season, the lady Valiants have come together nicely by creating an environment on the court that disrupts teams defensively. The pressure this young group displays on the court has led the team to become nationally recognized as one of the few teams in the nation to be this defensively sound.
They are currently ranked eighth in the country by holding opponents to 48.0 points per game, third in the country when holding opponents to shoot a frightening 29.5% from the field, number one in the country in holding opponents to shoot 20% from three, as well as forcing their opponents to commit an average of 22.55 turnovers a game. Placing in these top categories defensively across the nation is something Coach Vlahakis prides herself on, and clearly her team is executing at an extremely high and efficient level.
“I think I’ve always been a defensive minded coach, that’s where my philosophy starts. It’s been my thing forever, I’ll always be offense second and I think my players know that,” said Vlahakis.
Contrary to previous years Vlahakis has a young group of girls this season. The team consist of eight freshmen on the team, three of who start. These freshmen have definitely set a new expectation for this team now and in the future. Playing at an up-tempo pace on the defensive end has given this team the edge to succeed.
Awaiting the tail end of the season is something our whole school will be anticipating with high hopes.
“Every team I’ve coached is different. In terms of success with this youth group I think that success is within itself, with seven or so freshman is tough. To win in this conference is tough but these girls have set the bar to better standard,” said Vlahakis.