With a roster of only 14 athletes, consisting of two seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and six freshmen, the freshmen of the women’s basketball team will be stepping up this season to fill the spots of the five seniors who graduated last season.
This season, the Stags will look to the freshmen to bring something new to the court. Between the five of them, the freshmen of the team have similar goals: They want to play and they want to win. Although the team is relatively young, with these goals in mind, the Stags are looking to have a successful upcoming season.
This season, the team is bringing in a different kind of talent with the incoming freshmen. Two of the freshmen on the team are from out of the country, bringing another kind of skill to the court.
Freshman Sarah Stock, originally from Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany, played four seasons with her club team in Germany averaging 22 points per game. Playing since she was six years old, Stock added that her time with the team so far has been a positive experience.
“This is cool, the team is nice and I already feel like I am a part of the team,” said Stock.
With number three posted on her jersey, Stock has set a number of goals for herself including playing to the best of her ability and doing whatever she possibly can to better the team.
“I wanna do whatever I can for the team,” said Stock. “Even if it’s just cheering from the bench, I wanna do what I can for them.”
Freshman Helena Orts will be bringing her variety of experience to the courts this upcoming season. Standing at 6-feet-2-inches, the Barcelona native has been playing since the age of eight and brought her former teams large success in the past including several championships. Before coming to Fairfield this fall, Orts was elected to play in the Youth Olympic Games in China in a 3×3 tournament where she led her team to a bronze medal during the tournament. Having just returned from the games, Orts is looking forward to what she will accomplish with the Stags.
“I want to help make the team grow and help my teammates,” said Orts. “I want to score a lot of points and I hope that we compete a lot.”
The two international athletes will bring a different style of game to the court, while the other four freshmen will strengthen the game the upperclassmen of the team have almost perfected.
From Sparta, N.J., Jamie Melville ‘18 is hoping to carry the success she earned in high school to the court at Fairfield. Scoring 1,144 points throughout her high school career, Melville looks to be a promising athlete on the team. However, earning playing time will not be necessarily easy for the freshmen.
“I started all four years in high school and I was always at the top,” said Melville. “Then you come here and you’re at the way way bottom which is difficult but since being here, I already could see that I’ve gotten better.”
In the next upcoming season, Melville hopes to establish herself as an athlete.
“I’m a walk on so I think it definitely shows I have something to prove,” said Melville. “I want to prove that I can play at this level.”
Freshman Emma McCarthy has been raised with the game of basketball, one of the main reasons she is hoping to bring success to the Stags in her upcoming basketball career. McCarthy knew from the moment she saw Fairfield that it would be the place to further both her goals for basketball and academics. Originally from Shelton, Conn., McCarthy earned the honor of MVP for the Class LL State tournament while she led her team to several key victories as senior captain during the 2013-2014 season. McCarthy added that being on the team has helped her transition and she cannot wait for the next four years with the team.
“I want to get better,” said McCarthy, “and I will use the experience of the older girls to do this.”
Although she may be one of the shortest on the team, the Stags will use Macey Hollenshead’s ‘18 agility to their advantage. From Needmore, Pa., the 5-foot-7-inch athlete averaged 17 points per game and helped her team to three district championships during her high school career. Playing since the first grade, Hollenshead added that playing for the team has already been an awesome experience to be able to play at another level of basketball. Looking to her entire team for inspiration, Hollenshead has set a big goal for her team.
“I hope the team has a successful year, better than what the team did last year,” said Hollenshead. “I hope to help do that.”
Playing as guard for the team, Kristen McLaughlin ‘18 earned four Varsity letters, scored 1,137 points, and was named League MVP while playing for Tappan Zee High School in New York.
McLaughlin was influenced largely to play for Fairfield after visiting and meeting the coaching staff of the team. Already enjoying her time with the team, McLaughlin is looking to make an immediate impact on the team.
“I’m hoping to do whatever I can to help the team,” said McLaughlin. “We have really tough out-of-conference league play coming up, but we’re hoping to defy the odds and really come out strong despite the loss of five girls last season.”
Like McLaughlin said, all six of the freshmen are hoping to continue where the team left off last season. Now about two months into the start of the semester, the freshmen have finally gotten into the routine of playing for a Division I basketball team. It is now up to those freshmen to take their prior experience and new knowledge to make an impact this season for the Stags and fill the voids left by five departing seniors from last year.