By James Payne & Danielle Rafuse
The women’s and men’s basketball teams have made preparations for this season and debuted with home wins on November 15.
The women’s team lost six seniors and Assistant Coach Ashley Finnegan at the end of last season. Todd Montana, entering his third season as Head Coach of the team, will look to improve on last season’s 12-14 record (5-6 in conference) and a GNAC tournament quarterfinal loss.
Montana opted to bring in one freshman and one sophomore transfer to keep more of an age balance among the team although there are no seniors on the roster.
Iliana Quadri, a 2015 graduate of Suffolk University, has been brought in to replace Finnegan on the bench. Montana noted that Quadri was an exceptional player at Suffolk and has a lot of familiarity with the GNAC. It hasn’t taken long for Quadri to make an impact with the team. “She’s a great communicator with the players and is helpful in teaching the complexity of the college game,” said Montana.
Two graduates Katie Stopera and Deanna Barrett, were the team’s leading scorers last season, averaging 18.4 and 12.2 points per game respectively. Not to mention Stopera holds four records at Lasell.
“Last year the team revolved around Stopera and Barrett, this year we’ll be a more balanced team. It’ll be more difficult for teams to predict our game plans without having two players stand out,” said Montana. “Hopefully we can have four or five players average 7-10 ppg and one or two average 12-15 ppg.”
Captain roles have been handed to three juniors: Morgan Church, Madison Cota, and Brianna Hoffman. “We have a young program, but the players give us a strong foundation going forward,” said Montana. The women beat Wentworth 47-39 November 15 to begin the season 1-0.
The men’s team begins their season with Head Coach Aaron Galletta at the helm again along with newly appointed Associate Head Coach Joe Cabral. Galletta is excited for the new season with Coach Cabral. “His tireless work ethic and recruiting prowess will be a welcomed addition to the staff,” said Galletta.
Junior Scott Arsenault is glad to have Cabral on board as well. “We’re from the same town and I grew up looking up to Cabral,” said Arsenault. “I loved watching him play when I was kid. I cannot wait to reunite with him this season.”
The Lasers ended last season at a solid 18-9 (14-4 in GNAC) and a loss in the conference semifinals to Albertus Magnus. The team looks to avenge that loss and rebuild after losing three senior starters from last season.
Senior captain Armin Omanovic led the team offensively last season is ready for this season. “I look forward to mentoring the young guys on, not only becoming a better basketball player, but as well as a better person,” he said.
Fans like senior Alex Buttery are ready for the season ahead as well. “After losing some key players from last season, I believe the team is ready to come back for a strong one,” said Buttery.
“This school and the support of the Lasell community makes all our accomplishments that much better. Now it’s time to go win this championship,” said Omanovic.
After Tuesday’s 79-75 win over Regis, senior captain Yordan Villalon said, “Regardless of what obstacle is presented we have to push through it. Today was a great first test and we know the season has a lot more.”