Karmen Jericevic of Croatia to play guard at MLC
By Brent Wasenius/Managing-Sports Editor
Several new faces are expected to play prominent roles for the Midland Lutheran College women's basketball team in 2004-05.
The Lady Warriors open the season at 7:30 tonight at Hopkins Arena against Peru State. On Saturday, Midland plays College of St. Mary at 4 p.m. in Hopkins.
Midland lost several players from last year's squad that finished 16-13 overall, including 7-11 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
"We need some experience individually and as a team," Midland coach Joanne Bracker said. "It is a younger group. It takes a while to get to know each other's tendencies and strengths and weaknesses."
Among the players lost to graduation were Jill Hayden, a four-year starter at point guard. The Lady Warriors will also be without the services of Prague native Trisha Petrzelka. The junior forward will miss the season while recovering from knee surgery.
Bracker does, however, have five players with varsity playing experience.
Rebecca Garrelts, a 6-0 center, started seven games last year while averaging 8.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Garrelts missed several games because of illness last winter, but is back to 100 percent.
"She looks great," Bracker said. "She is 6-foot, but she can score with a 3-point shot. She has a nice jumper or can go inside and post up. Her strength is her scoring ability."
Shari Elofson, a 6-2 junior from North Bend, played in 27 games last year while averaging 5.6 points and 4 rebounds per game.
Liz Sneed, a 5-10 sophomore, is expected to play a bigger role this season. Sneed was bothered by injuries and illness as a freshman.
"She is capable of huge offensive numbers," Bracker said. "If she is healthy, she could be a great player for us."
Sophomore Kendra Kuncl, a 5-4 guard, is the leading candidate to replace Hayden at point guard. Melanie Hinken, a 5-6 sophomore guard from Fremont, also figures to play more this year.
"She is an outstanding athlete and plays great defense," Bracker said.
Allie Rippe, a 5-9 forward-center from Johnson, is one of the newcomers expected to contribute.
"She plays inside, but adds a different dimension," Bracker said. "She is real quick and has excellent court sense. She is one of those players that was very active on the court in high school. She has had some excellent scrimmage games."
Karmen Jericevic (5-8) of Croatia will play both guard positions. Tremaine Toussaint (5-8), a transfer from Penn Valley (Kan.) Community College, will also provide backcourt depth.
Additional help is expected to come from Ashley Bruegman, a 5-10 forward from Pierce, Allen native Angie Sullivan (5-8) and Stacia Fricke (5-11) of Ulysses.
"This is an outstanding group to coach," Bracker said. "It is one of those situations that we should see improvement with each practice and game. That is always motivating and rewarding."