Mike Connolly likes what he sees in his Holland College Hurricanes women’s basketball team.
The second-year coach said the squad is coming off a two-point victory over the perennially strong Mount Saint Vincent Mystics as it prepares to host a three-team Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association pre-season tip-off tournament starting today.
“We’re feeling like we’re making real progress from mid-September to today,” he said prior to Wednesday’s practice. “We’re looking good and we’re feeling good and, hopefully, we can continue that pre-season success.”
All of the tournament games will be played at the the Holland College Centre for Community Engagement.
The Hurricanes started slowly a year ago, but improved as the season progressed. They made the playoffs and won a game.
But with the college offering one and two-year programs the team has only two returnees this season.
The team has three players from Dartmouth, two each from Halifax and Charlottetown and one from Summerside, Moncton, Freeport, N.S., and Haverhill, Me.
The team has a variety of experience from players straight out of high school to some with university and college playing time.
Connolly said with so many new pieces it would take some time to round into form.
“Everybody is kind of getting used to each others’ games. I think by the time we’re finished, we’ll be a pretty solid basketball team,” Connolly said.
One of the newcomers is Stephanie Hiltz, a Dartmouth native who went to St. Francis Xavier University after graduating from Auburn Drive High School in 2008.
She tore her anterior cruciate ligament and took a year off before transferring to Dalhousie. She played a year there before taking another year off.
She is enrolled in the two-year sport and leisure management program and is pleased to be back on the court.
“It’s a really good atmosphere,” Hiltz said. “It feels good to be back out here.”
Hiltz, a point guard and team captain, said expectations are high after only a few weeks of practice. “We’ve improved so much.”
Connolly said the Hurricanes are an athletic group of players and he expects a lot of up-tempo play from the team.
There are five teams competing on the men’s side.
Hurricanes coach George Morrison is looking forward to playing at home.
“We’ve had a solid pre-season filled with lots of travel,” he said. “We are definitely looking forward to playing at home this weekend. It will be a great chance to see some of our other ACAA opponents in King’s and UNBSJ. It’s also nice to have Grenfell here for the weekend.”
Holland College athletic director Albert Roche is pleased Grenfell campus from Memorial University is taking part.
“It wasn’t that long ago that we were a team without a league to play in,” he said. “It’s great to be able to host them for some exhibition games and we’re grateful that they made the decision to travel over from Newfoundland.”
he following is the schedule for the Holland College Hurricanes tip-off tournament at the Holland College Centre for Community Engagement.
5 p.m. Grenfell vs. Holland College, women
7 p.m. Grenfell vs. Holland College, men
11 a.m. Grenfell vs. DAL AC, men
12:45 p.m. Holland College vs. DAL AC, women
2:30 p.m. Holland College vs. UNBSJ, men
4:15 p.m. Dal AC vs. King's, men
6 p.m. DAL AC vs. Grenfell, women
7:45 p.m. UNBSJ vs. Grenfell, men
9 a.m. Grenfell vs. King's, men
10:45 a.m. Grenfell vs. DAL AC, women
12:30 p.m. DAL AC vs. UNBSJ, men
2:15 p.m. King's vs. Holland College, men