The 2017-18 season marks the beginning of a brand new era for Chargers women’s basketball with the recent addition of former University of British Columbia Thunderbirds student-athlete and assistant coach Cait Haggarty as Head Coach of the program. Despite having just a few months to recruit this season’s squad, Coach Haggarty has managed to put together an exciting mix of returnees and newcomers who eagerly signed up for the team.
“Things are moving along well and I feel really good about the progress we have made so far,” comments Coach Haggarty. “The team is coming together nicely and we are all excited about the opportunity to begin league play in less than a month.”
Returning to the Chargers are six familiar faces, five of whom are from the Island: fourth-year guard Kathryn Candell, Victoria (Bachelor of Science Nursing), third-year guard Tessa Lannon-Paakspuu, Pentiction (BSFL), third-year forward Isla Swanick, Victoria (Bus Admin), second-year forward Mia Roberts, Victoria (Ex Well) and second-year guards Courtney Anderson, Nanoose Bay (Arts & Science) and Michaela Witte, Qualicum Beach (BSFL).
“We’re looking at Kathryn to play a big role this year as she’s obviously had success in her past years at Camosun,” says Coach Haggarty of Candell who is a two-time CCAA National Scholar award recipient as well as a CCAA Academic All-Canadian and two-time PACWEST 1st Team All-Star. “She’s the quiet leader of the group and we’re really excited to see how she performs this year. Mia will also be someone to watch for. She was last season’s PACWEST Rookie of the Year and put in a ton of work over the summer – a very versatile player. Our third-year returnees Tessa Lannon-Paakspuu and Isla Swanwick will be out to cause some trouble for other teams. Tessa is an exciting, dynamic player and she will probably take on quite a defensive role this year. Isla is a solid body – she runs well and is a good shot. She’s a great team player and brings calm to the floor, which is nice.”
Chargers fans will also be excited to see the return of Garden City locals, fifth-year guard Ella Goldschmid (Mt. Doug) and fourth-year guard Aija Salvadore (Oak Bay), both of whom came out of their varsity retirement to suit up and play, despite dealing with injuries.
“Ella is a super hard worker and a really smart player,” comments Coach Haggarty. “She’s healing from ACL surgery which she had seven months ago and although she’s currently having good days and bad days, I feel she’ll get through the process and be ready to contribute. For being out for two years, she looks like she hasn’t missed a beat – her shots are bang on! Aija is also coming back from an injury but she’s getting stronger. She’s looking better and she’s able to go full court now. She’s a natural scorer – one of the best I’ve seen. She just kind of finds ways to put the ball in the hoop.”
The Chargers look to five newcomers to add an interesting dynamic to the mix: fourth-year guard Ashely McGinnis (Oliver) and second-year guard/forward Jasmine de Vries (Victoria) both who played at UVic, third-year guard Jade Montgomery-Waardenburg (Keremeos) and first year student-athletes – forward, Madison Terbasket-Winser (Penticton) and guard, Bailey Schmidt (Kamloops). Red shirting for the team is Makena Lejeune from Chilliwack, BC.
“We’re really excited about Ashley,” says Coach Haggarty. “She brings a lot of poise and she’s a mature player. We still haven’t seen all of her [potential] yet but when she has stepped in and when she’s on the sidelines, she’s definitely vocal and kind of a natural leader. When she gets on the court, it will be very exciting! Jasmine is just coming out of UVic and was a surprise pick-up at open tryouts. She’s one of the hardest workers on the team and has great fundamental skills. We are definitely going to try to use her size as much as we can. We’ve also been very surprised with Jade. She’s tall, athletic, plays hard and has attitude. She’s got a little bit of a kick to her game so that’s pretty exciting. Madison is a big body. She’s natural in the post, gets up and down and isn’t afraid to go outside which is a good thing and allows our offense to be a little more versatile.”
“Hopefully this year will be a fun, exciting, up-tempo pace that highlights the teams ability to run as well as execute effectively both on offence and defence,” adds Coach Haggarty.
The Chargers basketball teams open the 2017-18 season on Thursday, November 9 in Nanaimo against Island rivals, the VIU Mariners (watch it on SportsCanadaTV). After a day back at home, the Chargers gear up for their home openers on Saturday versus the Columbia Bible College Bearcats in the PISE gymnasium on Camosun’s Interurban campus.
Thursday, Nov. 9 CAM at VIU Women 6pm; Men 8pm VIU Campus Gymnasium, Nanaimo
Saturday, Nov. 11 CBC at CAM Women 1pm; Men 3pm Camosun Interurban Campus, PISE Gym