The women’s basketball season came to an end last Wednesday. The Cougars took a tough loss to Waynesburg in the second round of playoffs. Down big at the half, they came out swinging in the second, cutting down the lead down to 15. The ladies fought hard all game, but ultimately could not pull out a victory. Seniors Rachel McClain, Anna Shashura and Chelsea Kovalcsik left everything out on the court for their final game in a Chatham uniform.
This season marked a few firsts for the Women’s team. On Monday, the team won their first ever playoff game in school history.
“We were all really happy and kind of in shock that we just accomplished such an amazing thing in Chatham history,” said first year Natalie Knab. “We knew that we had been wanting to win this game since the beginning of the season and just couldn’t believe we had accomplished it. The locker room was crazy. We were all going crazy especially the seniors. Walking off the court I think we all felt like we finally had a great game as a team and individually. We all contributed to the win and we were all excited to move on to the next round of playoffs.”
In addition to this big accomplishment, the team won 11 games, the most they have won in the last five years.
“I think everyone on our team has great chemistry and we know what each other’s strengths are,” said Shashura. “We have so many talented players so we don’t have to rely on one person to pull through to get the win. We have contributors from both the starters and the bench.”
“In the past we have won maybe three games a season and that’s really hard. Just going back day after day and continuing to lose, but I think us getting through those tough years made this year even better and has set the standard for what Chatham’s women’s team will be from now on,” Shashura continued.
The team was helped all year long by the leadership of its three seniors. Through the tough loses to Thomas Moore and Grove City, the seniors held their heads high and continued to encourage their younger teammates. They had some hard fought wins as well, against some tough conference opponents. Two big road wins, against Bethany College and Geneva College, helped them for playoff seeding. Another crucial victory was a home win against PAC rival St. Vincent College.
After a tremendous season, the three seniors have passed the reigns off onto the younger players. Juniors Jesse Hinkle, Nikki Ingel, and Dana Eastman look to lead this young Cougar team next year. The Cougars will offer more experience as they return one sophomore and five first years.
After four years of play, the senior team members have some advice for returning and new players.
“I would tell them not to take the time they get to play for granted,” said McClain. “Four years seems like such a long time but goes by so quick. I would tell them the athletics program is only going up from here and use this year as a stepping stone to get better for the next few years.”
The Cougars look to build off of this incredible season. With only three seniors graduating, the team will be comprised mainly of returning players who had a big impact on this season. The Cougars look forward to taking on their rivals in the PAC conference next year.