NOLAN POTTS ’DOAH STAFF WRITER
A coaching change can some- times be detrimental to a team be- cause the new coach is unfamiliar with the returning players. However, sometimes it is a good thing to have a new voice leading a program. On the women’s side of S.U. basketball, a new head coach is in place, but she is a familiar face to the ladies returning to the team. Melissa Smeltzer-Kraft has taken over the head coaching po- sition from C.K. Calhoun who left to be an assistant coach at Lafayette Col- lege. Smeltzer-Kraft was an assistant coach for the Hornets last year and is familiar with the players that suited up for the Hornets in the 2013-2014 season. A year ago, the squad finished with a 10-17 overall record, including 6-10 in ODAC contests. That was good enough to finish seventh in the conference and earn a first round game against ninth ranked Randolph, a game that the Hornets won 69-51. They then took on the number one seeded Eastern Mennonite in the ODAC Quarterfinals and lost 53-52 in heartbreaking fashion.
Heading into the 2014-2015 campaign, the ladies were picked to finish eighth in the ODAC Preseason Poll. The team returns its leading scorer in junior Imani Heggins (15.9 points per game last season), as well as its leading rebounder and third- leading scorer in senior Holly Chit- tenden (8.9 rebounds per game, 11.9 points per game). The squad lost one of its main contributors to graduation in sharpshooter and second-leading scorer Crystal Petrus. Chittenden is the squad’s lone senior heading into the season, along with three juniors (Sarah Dixon, Heggins and Ashley McGhee) three sophomores (Olivia Callan, Erin French and Mary Sev- erin) and seven freshmen to round out the 14-women roster.
The women will have played two games by the time they have their first home game which take place on Nov. 19 when Hood makes the trip to Shenandoah. With a new coach at the helm, the ladies hope they can take a step forward this season and improve upon their record from a year ago.