The Union girls were a young team last year, but the Lady Scots are even more youthful this season.
The squad graduated three seniors from a 5-17 team. Union is left with one senior, five sophomores and three freshmen this winter.
However, the sophomores have plenty of experience. Kayla Fruehstorfer, Kendall Preuhs, Elise Booker, Zoe Lepri and Ty’Ana Fitzpatrick all saw significant playing time a year ago.
“We’re looking to build on last year. We thought we had a somewhat successful season then and started to establish a winning culture,” Union coach Rob Nogay said. “The girls we have are dedicated. They’ve bought into the system. They are working hard so they will be ready to go.”
The squad’s small numbers mean that freshmen Bella Cameron, Kayla Eppinger and Aryanna Pavelko and senior Gianna Trott will be pressed into action, too.
“We don’t have the numbers we’re used to,” Nogay said. “We’re looking for the freshmen to step in and get quality minutes as well.”
The Lady Scots will lean on their sophomores to lead the way.
“The sophomores we have played a lot of quality minutes as freshmen. Anytime you can get actual game experience, it’s huge. You just can’t imitate it in practice,” Nogay said. “The experience they got will definitely help them out. Hopefully, it lets us be a step ahead in preparation for this season.”
Nogay is thrilled with the team’s practices.
“Our work ethic has been great. The girls bought in and they know what to expect from us. They want to be there, want to compete and compete at a very high level and work toward the goal of being successful,” he said. “I think this is a great group we have now. They worked very hard last year. They work very hard now. What we lack in roster numbers, we definitely make up with our work ethic because we get after it.”
Union hopes its speed causes problems for opponents.
“I think we have a little different makeup than last year. We’ll rely on our quickness,” Nogay said. “We don’t have a lot of height, but I think our height can still help us. We want to get up and down the floor, though. Last year, we hung our hats on pressuring some teams. We want to do that again and get after teams and put them in uncomfortable situations and create turnovers.”
The Lady Scots finished 3-9 in Section 1-A last year. Vincentian and Quigley both closed their doors, while Sewickley Academy moved to a difference section. They’ll face newcomer Bishop Canevin as well as holdovers Cornell, Eden Christian and Rochester.
“We’re off and running. We’re preparing like we’ll start the season right away and move with it normally,” Nogay said. “I am not sure that word ‘normal’ has applied to anything in 2020, but we’ll hope we can get in a season.”