By Luke Mich
On Saturday, March 20, Nr. 1 seed Saint Vincent looked to win the women’s basketball PAC Championship once again. They hosted Nr. 2 seed Washington & Jefferson and ended up winning 65-61. Starting guard Jenna Lafko and starting center Ella Marconi discussed how the championship game went.
“It was a battle every minute of the game. It was a game of runs, of heart, and passion,” Lafko, a senior psychology major, said.
“The game was hard fought the entire 40-minute duration. Neither team let up for a single second, and that’s very evident by the score,” Marconi, a sophomore nursing major, stated.
In addition to winning the conference, their second in three seasons, the team ended the season with a perfect 10-0 record. Volunteer assistant coach Joel Trentin detailed how the team accomplished this.
“It’s hard to go undefeated in this conference with a lot of great talent and great coaching. The hard work, the dedication, the leadership the seniors showed helped the team remain consistent and were key to achieving this record,” Trentin said.
Trentin said there wasn’t one specific event that helped define the whole season, but rather small things along the way.
“What really defined our team were the little things. The leadership our seniors showed, the love that the players had for one another, the moments at practice players showed care for one another, encouraging each other, those were the moments that really defined our team,” Trentin said.
During a challenging season due to the abbreviated and delayed schedule, the obstacle of COVID-19 helped keep the team accountable and overcome additional adversity.
“Every player held each other accountable in following the COVID-19 protocols in order to ensure we did not get shut down. Holding each other accountable this season played a key role in our success,” Marconi explained.
“It is so important for a team, especially in this COVID season, to be united. We are a tight-knit group that supported each other endlessly,” Lafko added.
Even with a perfect 10-0 record and a conference title, the season was not without its fair share of challenges. Injuries, as well as contract tracing for COVID-19, were some obstacles along the way.
“I suffered a foot injury that kept me out the first three games. I had to adjust my mindset and keep things in perspective because at first we did not know if it was season ending,” Lafko mentioned.
Then, after their February 13 game against Waynesburg, the team was temporarily shut down due to contract tracing. Because of this, a number of games were delayed and rescheduled, with the next game that the team played coming exactly two weeks after the Waynesburg game.
“Our team did not have a case at all this season. After playing against Waynesburg and finding out that they had at least one COVID case on their team, we were then shut down for 10 days,” Trentin said.
Marconi believes that that time spent in quarantine with the season on hold was important to the team and its success this season.
“When we got shut down due to contract tracing, it really showed us that any day could be our last and that tomorrow is never promised. I personally believe it drove us to play so much harder and really cherish every moment we got to step out on the court,” Marconi said.
Though the season has now come to an end, the team is understandably proud of the job they did in not just winning the conference title, but completing the whole season with not a single loss. Trentin, Marconi and Lafko all had nothing but praise for their team.
“This team was very coachable. They responded well to the coaching and each other, and that’s why I wanted to coach. It was great,” Trentin said.
“Overall, I’m really proud of this team. I am so thankful to be a part of a team that feels so much like a family,” Marconi said.
“It really means a lot to add another PAC title to our program. We are so excited to go out on top!” Lafko said.