By Julian Bell
FDU Women’s Basketball coach Peter Cinella, who will be the Knights head coach for a 10th season, is preparing his team for another successful season.
After his team won over Seton Hill in their exhibition and Longwood in their home opener, Cinella said he is optimistic about the upcoming season and confident that the Knights will finish with a winning record.
“Our team is totally different from last season. We graduated two great players from last season’s roster,” Cinella said. “However, this year’s team with five freshman and four sophomores, we have great energy and a huge focus on balance, teamwork, and defensive execution.”
Cinella said he is enthusiastic about the young players on his team, namely because they have potential to improve and contribute to their overall success.
“I think although we are a young team, I think we are going to make some rapid improvements as the year goes on,” said Cinella.
Earlier this season, the Knights lost a game to New Mexico, their only defeat of the season thus far.
“The New Mexico experience was a great experience. They are obviously a really big school – we played in front of 5,000 fans,” Coach Cinella said.
“We really did a lot of nice things and the game was close. We only committed 10 turnovers which would have been the second best game of any game from last season.”
Cinella is clearly determined to emphasize his team’s strong points while actively working on potential weaknesses. During the discussion, he remained positive about the good plays his team made, despite their lost to New Mexico.
“Three of the four quarters, we had got our defensive goals against a team that averaged 100 points a game and we were able to hold them down to under 85 points,” Cinella said.
Cinella also mentioned some of the key players that contribute to much of their success on the court.
“We really have a balanced roster, but I would say some of our seniors in the starting lining up right now are Brianna Thomas and Kiana Brown. They have really showed great potential,” Cinella said.
“One of our juniors who has a lot of potential is Amina Markovic and in our freshman class we have a starter: Lauren Francillon.”
Cinella said that he was determined to develop a winning team by setting measurable goals from them.
“Our goal is to finish with a winning record and to be a top four conference playoff team. If we can get in the top four, that would give us a whole playoff game,” Cinella said.
Coach Cinella talks with the team during their home opener vs. Longwood.
Photo Credit: Larry Levanti
When asked which teams he was most looking forward to playing on the field, Cinella named only the top teams in the division.
“Well, I think probably the three top teams are Robert Morris, St. Francis PA and Sacred Heart,” Cinella said.
“I think we had some success against those teams last year, beating Robert Morris twice and St. Francis PA once. We had very close, tough loss against Sacred Heart – we have had some positive experiences against them last season, and now we just have to get a little bit better.”
The Knights already seem to be gradually improving, with some of their more recent victories. Even with the lost against New Mexico, their defense was strong and FDU played great a game, as Cinella stated earlier.
As the head coach, he truly seems to want the best for his team, especially considering the fact that he is eager to play against the toughest opponents in the division. This is a sure sign of great coach who believes that challenges serve to strengthen an organization.