WILMINGTON — Last year was a tough one for Padua, as the Pandas struggled with inconsistency on the way to a 9-12 record and a first-round exit from the state tournament. They rebounded from a 1-5 start, defeating Conrad in triple overtime and falling to St. Elizabeth by just four points late in the year, but Conrad got the best of them in the tournament in double overtime.
Much of their scoring has graduated, but Padua does return senior starters Anastasia Mavridis and Cecilia Onekalit, along with juniors Bella Julian and Camryn Scully, who started much of last season. Sophomore Haley Scott is expected to contribute. Four freshmen are on the roster this season — Paige Kenton, Arianna Henry, Shannon McCormac and Michelle Kozicki.
“We are very excited about our freshman class,” said Emily Grugan, entering her third year at the helm. “They are athletic, hard-working and determined.”
The Pandas open at the She Got Game Classic on Dec. 11 and also play Archbishop Prendergast (Pa.), Conrad and Caravel on the road, and Archmere, Concord and Sanford at home. That is in addition to their Catholic Conference schedule, so nothing will come easy on Broom Street this season.
“Having graduated our three top producers from last year, this is definitely a transition for us as a whole in asking a lot more of our younger players. But I find it very exciting and encouraging. I hope to continue a high-energy, high-pressure style of play and be the most competitive version of ourselves,” Grugan said.