Women's Basketball Team Faces Down
Adversity In Solid Season


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.

Observed head 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.)

Tenaglia notes 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."

Grounding the 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 academic careers.

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