Mount women off to good start

CRESSON — The Mount Aloysius College women’s basketball team is having a great run at this point in the season.

Standing undefeated in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) at 4-0, in conference play and 6-2 overall, the Lady Mounties have the season in hand but taking nothing for granted so far. Their wins have included D’Youville College (81-49), University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg (66-49), Penn State Behrend (85-71) and a nail-biter win against University of Pittsburgh at Bradford (68-67).

The team has a solid group of returners and seniors leading the charge and hope to return to the AMCC Conference tournament.

Mount Aloysius coach Kristi Kaack put her approach to the season in focus.

“The goal remains the same for us this year, and that is to compete for a conference championship. We are undersized but we will look to play a fast-paced transition game,” Kaack said. “As always, we are the team that commits to working hard every possession on the defensive end.”

Four seniors are helping out. Lexi Servello, of Altoona; Kara Cordell, of Patton; Abby Kulick, of Claysburgh; Katie Bracken, of Ebensburg; and top-performer Jessa Wright, of Mifflin County, all intend to graduate this year and leave an indelible mark.

Freshmen, Katelyn Parisi, of Hollidaysburg and Rachel Robinson, of Leola, along with newcomer, Karen Boone, of Berwick, have already adjusted to collegiate level competition.

“Our two freshmen have impressed us from the start of practice and our first scrimmage,” Kaack said. “Rachel and Katelyn have adjusted extremely well to the speed of the game and the type of style we play. Both are making an immediate impact this year, along with newcomer, Karen Boone.”

The Lady Mounties are matching a tough defense with quick offense. Returning sophomores, Lea Sammarco, of Patton; and Hannah Kitko, of Houtzdale; are being helped out by junior, Breana Kendrick, of Broad Top City. The combination offers opposing teams a lot to handle.

“We have high expectations for every player in this group,” Kaack added. “We play a team game where we expect four or five players to be in double figures every contest.”

Coach Kaack added that one real asset is forward Jessa Wight, voted AMCC Newcomer of the Year last season. “Wright has started strong and we expect even more production from her this year,” Kaack added.

Jessa Wright has once again produced powerhouse performances. During the contest again Pitt-Greensburg, she ended the contest with 13 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Wright so far averages nearly 15 points, nine rebounds and more than two steals per game during the season.

This week, Mount Aloysius guard, Altoona’s Alexia Servello was named Player of the Week by the AMCC. Servello averages over 10 points per game with 3 assists and 3 rebounds. The 5 foot 5 senior continues making her consistent positive impact on Lady Mountie’s basketball.

Kaack has served as coach for the women’s basketball team since 2011. A former Altoona Area High School basketball standout, Kaack was All State while in high school, and was twice Defensive Player of the Year in the Atlantic ten, and a First Team All-Conference selection at Duquesne University. Kaack played professional basketball in Baja, Hungary. She is joined by Assistant Coach Adam Kaack, and Team Manager Cierra Hellmann.

Coach Kaack summed up the season so far.

“This start of season play has been the best one out of all my years,” she said. “We are smaller in numbers but we have a group that is willing to run through a wall for us and that is really special to find. They are all committed to being the best player they can for the team,” Kaack said. “And we hope to give our senior group a truly memorable year.”