Villa Maria Victors
Coach (season, record): Doug Chuzie (2nd full season, 32-5)
2011-12 overall record: 24-5
2011-12 region record (place): 14-0 (champion)
2011-12 playoff results: Defeated Wilmington 77-12, Seneca 56-24 and Girard 57-26 to win the District 10 Class AA championship. Villa then defeated Avonworth 55-28 in the first round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs and Bishop Canevin 47-30 in the second round. Villa beat Forest Hills 57-45 in the quarterfinals before losing to Seton-La Salle 56-50 in the semifinals.
Top players lost: Lisa Mifsud, Adrienne Kloecker, Abbey Steudler, Zhane Brooks, Rebecca Sweny, Cierra Pollock
Top returning players: Karlee McBride, Leah Bennett
Assistant coach: Tom Laird
Outlook: Villa Maria will face new challenge this season. Not only were the Victors hit hard by graduation, they moved back up to Class AAA for the new PIAA two-year cycle. Villa lost four of its five starters to graduation, including District 10 Player of the Year Lisa Mifsud. Mifsud was named to the all-state first team and is now competing for Holy Cross. Adrienne Kloecker graduated and is playing for Mercyhurst University along with Abbey Steudler (St. Leo) and Zhane Brooks (IUP). The Victors also lost four-year varsity players Rebecca Sweny and Cierra Pollock. Villa will have a tough time replacing its seniors but the Victors will have Indiana recruit Karlee McBride to lean on. She is an all-district selection and all-state selection. McBride is a three-star recruit according to ESPN and has emerged as a terrific all-around player during her career at Villa. Senior Leah Bennett and junior Lindsey Mifsud are also back and could be counted on as leaders. Bennett is a 5-11 senior and is being recruited by several Division II schools in Florida, while Lindsey Mifsud is a 5-7 junior guard that started seeing playing time last year. She is receiving collegiate interest but is only a junior and has plenty of time for recruiting. Despite the experience of those three, Villa will still need to rely on younger players to play meaningful minutes. Juniors Amesha Harden-Pullium and Shanice Morris will be in the mix along with sophomore Morgan Putnam. Harden-Pullium an Morris are daughters of coaches and understand the game, while Putnam was one of the top players on the junior varsity last year. Sarah Agnello, Katlyn Unger, Deja Young, Nicole Maxson, Allison Thompson, Jess Damico, Sara Gromacki, Anna Sweny, Jackie Kitts and Marlena Harris could compete for playing time as well. The Victors have loaded their schedule, once again, including a national tournament and a rematch with Seton-La Salle. The biggest story in D-10 might be the rekindling of the Villa-Mercyhurst rivalry. Not only are the two teams playing twice in region play, they may meet for the D-10 championship. The Victors will be young but their program is strong enough to reload instead of rebuild.
10 at Strong Vincent 7
13 at Meadville 7:30
15 at Seton-La Salle 2:30
20-22 KSA tournament
5 East 7:30
8 Corry* 7
10 Mercyhurst Prep* 8:30
12 at McDowell 7:30
16 at Harbor Creek* 7:30
21 at Warren* 7:30
25 at Fort LeBoeuf* 7:30
26 Bishop Canevin 1:30
28 at Corry* 7:30
31 Harbor Creek* 7
2 Perry 6
5 at Mercyhurst Prep* 7:30
9 at Altoona 2:30
12 Warren* 7:30
13 Fort LeBoeuf* 7:30
16 Central Tech 7:30
*Region 6 games
Saturday: Warren, West Middlesex
Villa Maria standout basketball player Karlee McBride has changed her mind and gave Indiana a verbal commitment. McBride committed to then-head coach Curt Miller at Bowling Green last fall. Miller then took over the Indiana program in the offseason. McBride made two visits to Indiana and decided to change her commitment.
McBride, a guard/forward, averaged 14 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists as a junior to be named to the all-state second team. She was also a third-team all-state selection as a sophomore. McBride needs only 23 points to reach 1,000 career points. Her sister, Kayla McBride, is a starter for nationally-ranked Notre Dame, which is only 200 miles from Bloomington.
Check Friday’s Erie Times-News for more.
Villa Maria Victors
Coach (season, record): Doug Chuzie (2nd season, 1st full season, 8-0)
2010-11 overall record: 28-2
2010-11 region record (place): 14-0 (champion)
2010-11 playoff results: Defeated Wilmington 73-14, Sharpsville 54-34 and Sharon 61-37 to win the District 10 Class AA championship. Villa then defeated Deer Lakes 59-34, Westmont Hilltop 67-50, Bishop Canevin 46-37, Seton-La Salle 58-34 and Dunmore 62-39 to win the PIAA Class AA championship.
Top player lost: Jillian May
Top returning players: Lisa Mifsud, Adrienne Kloecker, Abbey Steudler, Zhane Brooks, Karlee McBride, Rebecca Sweny, Leah Bennett, Cierra Pollock
Assistant coaches: Nicole Delsandro, Tom Laird
Outlook: Villa Maria was supposed to have the “super team” two years ago when standouts like Kayla McBride and Ashley Prischak were seniors. This year’s squad could be even more dangerous to the rest of the state. The entire starting lineup has committed to playing on the collegiate level, while several reserves are being recruited as well. Lisa Mifsud is heading to Holy Cross, while Adrienne Kloecker is staying in the area to attend Mercyhurst. Abbey Steudler is heading to St. Leo in Florida, while Zhane Brooks will compete for IUP. Karlee McBride is only a junior but she has verbally committed to Bowling Green after next year. That ferocious five led the Victors to their third-straight state championship in March and with all five back, Villa is a strong favorite to win a fourth. Allentown Central Catholic is the only girls basketball team to ever win four state titles in a row, while Mt. Lebanon could join Villa with four a in a row this winter on the Class AAAA level. The Victors are loaded enough that their three key reserves, Rebecca Sweny, Leah Bennett and Cierra Pollock could also play at the collegiate level. Sweny and Pollock are seniors, while Bennett is a junior. Some newcomers to Villa this winter include Lindsey Mifsud, Amesha Harden and Shanice Morris. They make up the next group that could star next year. One advantage they have is practicing this entire winter against one of the best teams in the state, giving the Victors another loaded team instead of one that would rebuild.
Villa’s non-region schedule is a brutal one that will certainly test the already experienced Victors. After a stop at the North Allegheny tournament where Villa could face McDowell, the Victors head out to Phoenix for the NIKE Tournament of Champions. The NIKE tournament is referred to as the de factor national championship tournament. Villa has played in three of the past four years and lost by two points to Sacred Heart Cathedral in 2007, the eventual USA Today national champion. The Vicotrs will face four national powers and return home in time for Christmas. Also on the schedule is rival Mercyhurst Prep as well as Academy of Notre Dame de Demur in the Blue Chip Showcase in Philadelphia. Academy of Notre Dame is in the Pennsylvania Indepedent School Athletic Association, which is a conference of powerhouses like Germantown Academy, which does not have to adhere to PIAA regulations. Villa has everyone back except Jillian May this winter and barring a rash of injuries, the Victors should make history once again.
9-10 North Allegheny tournament
12 at Maplewood* 7:30
15 Northwestern* 7:30
19-22 NIKE showcase
5 Girard* 7:30
9 at Seneca* 7:30
12 at Cambridge Springs* 7:30
16 at Iroquois* 7:30
19 Union City* 7:30
21 at Northwestern* 2:30
26 Maplewood* 7:30
29 Academy of Notre Dame 1
2 at Union City* 7:30
4 at Mercyhurst Prep 7:30
6 Iroquois* 7:30
9 at Girard* 7:30
13 Seneca* 7:30
16 Cambridge Springs* 7:30
Friday: George Junior, VisionQuest
– Tom Reisenweber
The Villa Maria girls basketball team picked up its fourth college commitment this year as Karlee McBride committed to Bowling Green State this week. McBride, a 5-foot 10-inch guard/forward, has a three-star rating according to ESPN and is the No. 49 ranked win in the country. The junior played a crucial role the past two years in helping the Victors win state championships. She averaged 12 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists as a junior to earn all-state third-team status.
“I love the winning tradition at BG,” McBride said. “Coming from a high school program that strives for a state championship every year, it is very important to me I am able to be a part of a college program that competes for championships yearly as well.”
Bowling Green went 28-5 last winter, including a MAC tournament championship and appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Falcons are coached by Curt Miller, a Girard native.
Villa’s Lisa Mifsud committed to Holy Cross earlier this season, while Adrienne Kloecker is headed to Mercyhurst and Abbey Steudler is going to St. Leo in Florida. All four players are part of the Erie Saints program, which has also had commitments from Mercyhurst Prep’s Amanda Berchtold (Gannon) and Greenville standout Brooklyn Taylor (St. Francis).
– Tom Reisenweber