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Healthy Fox Chapel girls basketball team motivated to compete

| Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Kehley Shank, contributing photographer
Rachel Ranii recieves instructions from Fox Chapel Girls' basketball coach Meghan Meabon at a practice during the 2011-12 season. Kehley Shank | Valley News Dispatch

Last season is mostly forgettable for the Fox Chapel girls basketball team, but its lingering effects still can serve a purpose.

“Starting off at this point last year, we had an unhealthy team,” coach Meghan Meabon said. “Parts of it, I think you forget about, but you do use it as motivation for the girls who are returning.”

Four knee surgeries and three concussions stymied the Foxes, who finished 3-19 overall and 2-10 in Section 2-AAAA.

“In my years, I've never seen that,” Meabon said.

Included in those knee injuries was Fox Chapel's lone senior, leading scorer Tatiana Sunseri, who missed significant time.

Another player with knee ailments was Duke-bound forward Erin Mathias.

The 6-foot-3 junior missed all of last season following a procedure on her right knee.

“If you look two years ago she averaged a double-double. She really had a lot of pressure on her,” Meabon said. “She's definitely stepped up on and off the court for us.”

Mathias averaged 10 points and 11 rebounds her freshman year.

Meabon noted Mathias' development as a player in such a short time in her high school career.

Her role has expanded to include her play away from the ball, especially with the talent that will be surrounding her.

“We have a team, this year, who can contribute offensively and defensively for us,” Meabon said. “We do have some nice young guards who are able to distribute and see the floor.”

Joining Mathias in the starting lineup will be a pair of seniors: guard Rachel Ranii and forward Alexa Yaksich.

Meabon expects a lot from the trio.

“With the combination of those three, we have the strongest leadership thus far,” Meabon said.

The Foxes lost only one senior in Sunseri.

“I don't even know that we're that much older,” Meabon said. “I have three freshmen who are going to see the court heavily this year.”

Guards Kayla Slovenec and Taylor Cohen and forward Anna Kelly will all see time in the lineup.

“There's excitement in the air. We had a phenomenal offseason. The girls have worked super hard in every aspect,” Meabon said. “We're not expecting to blow every team out that we play, but we should surprise some teams out there.”

Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.

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