New coach, veteran team for Charleroi Area girls
First-year Charleroi girls' basketball head coach Joe Grodz has a dilemma on his hands for his first season, and it isn't necessarily a bad thing.
“We have six returning starters from last year's team and they are all juniors,” said Grodz, who replaces Nick Mahalko. Mahalko coached Charleroi for nine seasons. “We don't have a true starting five and all six will rotate.
“They are great leaders while working with the younger girls and are pushing and motivating each other,” Grodz said.
The six who will see time in the starting lineup includes two-year starter Mia Woytovich.
“Mia is a floor general and sees the floor as well as anyone I have coached,” said Grodz who was Mahalko's assistant the last eight seasons.
The other five are Carina Gottheld, Anjie Tilghman, Lynsey Wright, Rachel Ritzer, and Jordan Swarmer.
Grodz says he also has quality depth in sophomores Jen Tilghman, Cassy Federer, and Marissa Johnson, as well as with the lone senior, Briya Smith.
“This group brings another dynamic to the team,” Grodz said. “They are showing that they are capable role players.”
What does Grodz expect for his first season?
“It is always hard to predict how things will turn out, but we should be competitive if we can stay healthy,” he said. “If we can execute our game plan and keep mistakes to a minimum, we will always be in a position to win.”
Charleroi is in revamped Section 5 AA with McGuffey, Washington, Beth-Center, Burgettstown, and South Side Beaver. McGuffey and South Side Beaver replaced Brownsville and Waynesburg.
The Lady Cougars open their season Friday by hosting their own tip-off tournament. Charleroi meets Perry on the first night.
Bill Hughes is a freelance writer.