Last season was not kind to the Rhinebeck girls basketball team. The Hawks were 2-11 in overall play for 2011-12, a far cry from the previous year, which at 8-8 was the team’s best season in a decade.
Rhinebeck appears to suffer from the standard divisional rub: an undersized squad coming out of an undersized school in a regular sized division (Section IX, Class C). It was 2005 when Purple last won a spot in the Section IX Class C finals; the division has been more recently dominated by Tuxedo, S.S. Seward and Millbrook.
And with a move to Class D out of the question, head coach Marc Burg faces an annual uphill battle, trying remain relevant in a division that seems to have no place for the wayward Hawks.
“I don’t think last year was that rough,” Burg told the Observer. “It is unfortunate that we have to play in a league comprised of such large-school competition. I don’t think our win-loss record indicates the level of competiveness we had. We look to fight through our tough league schedule and be as best prepared as we can be for sectionals.”
Burg added that his team was ready to up the temerity this year, in the face of the upcoming “tough schedule,” which includes two dances with Pine Plains and two with Millbrook.
“This team is a lot more athletic than previous teams. However, we don’t have any experienced post players heading into the season,” he said, adding “We will definitely play more aggressively this year than teams in the past. We will look to play aggressive defense and compete in all our games. As a small school, this is a lofty goal.”
The team’s heftiest goal, he said, “will be to develop solid team chemistry heading into the second half of the season.”
At least the yearly hit of graduation loss was pretty light. The team will only be losing two players to graduation: Karen Kirker and Nicole Fasolino. And it will also lose Briana Santo who, according to Burg, “has chosen not to play to focus on field hockey.”
Burg will be adding JV players Devon Drozdowski, Morgan Rakow, Breahanna Schwartz and Kayla Toback to the varsity travel roster, as well as freshmen Natalie Hutchins and Lizzy Kroll, whom he called “promising.”
Burg is rather mum on the starting rotation. “I believe we could have any combination of starting line-ups. We will be led by senior captains Meredith Mimoso and Samantha Cassata. Both have been on varsity since 9th grade and should be prepared to have great seasons. Our other returning players should also be able to contribute positively throughout the season,” Burg said.
The team will also be returning players Rebecca Gausepohl, Camil Sydney, and Rachel and Spencer Tigges.
Rhinebeck’s first game of the season was at Rondout on Dec. 6.
Their first home game will be against Dover on Dec. 14 at 6:30pm in a Mid-Hudson Athletic League matchup.
The Hawks will also play Red Hook’s Lady Raiders at Bard College on Sat., Dec. 22 at 4pm, which will be followed by a Purple vs. Red boys basketball game at 5:30pm.