Passaic Valley girls basketball showing improvement
A new season is spurring renewed optimism for the Passaic Valley High girls basketball team.
Entering his 11th season as head coach, Marc Salvatore has a relatively young team which is showing signs of improvement with each day of practice.
The Hornets open the regular season on Dec. 16, when the team plays at Lakeland High School, in a 7 p.m. tip off. The team will play its home opener on Dec. 20, against Wayne Hills, at 4 p.m. and on Dec. 22, Paramus Catholic comes to town for a 4 p.m. start. PV will once again host its annual holiday tournament, beginning on Dec. 27, continuing on the 28th and concluding on Dec. 30. PV’s first round game will be against Dwight Morrow, at 3:30 p.m. Other teams in the tourney include Wayne Valley, Bergenfield, Cresskill, Lakeland, Ridgefield Park and Clifton.
Salvatore saw some good things in last week’s scrimmages, beginning with the point guard position following the graduation of Jalyssa Marquez.
“Our point guard this year will be Cat Cole,” said Salvatore of the senior, who played 2-guard last winter. “Cat has done a good job for us. She’ll get more confidence in herself as the season progresses, but she’s athletic enough to get the job done.”
Alexa Fitzgerald, a senior, has a lot of versatility.
“Alexa can play every position for us,” said Salvatore. “She has a good shot from 3-point range, and works extremely hard every day.”
A sophomore, Brittany Bove, gained a lot of varsity playing time last winter.
“Brittany has done a great job, so far, defending and rebounding for us,” said Salvatore. “I think she can do some positive things offensively. She just needs to be more aggressive on the offensive end.”
Rachel Sol’s toughness will be a key at forward.
“Rachel is a junior, who is undersized for the forward position, but is such a tough competitor,” said Salvatore. “She has been a presence for us. She can rebound against bigger players and helps with our presses.”
Alyssa Sole is a returning starter for the Hornets, and projected to be a guard.
Kayla Almendinger is a freshman who is on the verge of starting for the Hornets, according to Salvatore.
“She will be the first girl off the bench until she gets comfortable with the varsity game,” said Salvatore. “Kayla is a strong kid who can run in transition, rebound and hit the 3-point shot, if left open. I think she has a bright future, she is a basketball junkie, and plays the game year-round.”
Off the bench, Passaic Valley will turn to junior forward Nicolette Abbondanza, who works hard and plays bigger than her size, junior Jaylynn Torres, who can fill in at guard and Olivia Ugliarolo, a sophomore, who can help the team at guard, as well
Salvatore’s coaching staff is intact from last year, as Mike Couden will lead the junior varsity and Kathleen Berthold coaches the freshmen. The Hornets will look to improve on an 8-16 season last year.