Oley Valley ready to contend for another division title

The Oley Valley Lynx HIgh School girls’ basketball team went 18-9 overall, and was undefeated in divisional play in the 2013-2014 season. Second year coach Jeff Cardinal feels that the team is trying to find their identity, meaning some players are learning their roles. The Lady Lynx are 2-0 (league) and 5-4 overall sof far in 2014-2015 season.

Coach Cardinal is happy with how things are going so far, but knows that there’s a lot of work to be done this season.

“We need to improve and be the team I feel we can be,’ said Cardinal. ‘So, hopefully playing a good non-league schedule will help us down the road.’

Cardinal is hoping to find some scoring up and down his line-up. His biggest concern for this year’s team is depth. At this point he can only can go six deep. The younger players will need to learn quickly so they can make some significant contributions off the bench later in the season.

Of course the Lady Lynx need to replace Brandi Vallely and her 16.4 points a game. Tori Moll (6.8 points a game) was also lost to graduation. Those are two good players who will very much be missed.

“It’s impossible to replace them,’ said Cardinal. “Brandi was probably the best player I have ever had the privilege to coach. And her cousin, Tori, was a great addition last year. The two of them complemented each other so well.’

Despite the loss of those two players, the Lady Lynx have very high expectations for this season. They intend to battle for another division title and qualify for county and district playoffs. The Lynx still have the talent to achieve those goals. The girls’ believe in themselves and their abilities.

The good news is that the Lady Lynx have three returning starters with a wealth of experience. They have a nice inside game with Amanda Aulenbach (15.4 points per game) and Taylor Renninger (8.1 points per game). They also have the outside shooting of Amanda Rizzuti (10.4 points her game) and Kayla Matuzak (4 points per game).

When asked about Aulenbach’s play, Cardinal summed up her play this season just five words. “She is just a beast.’

Of course Coach Cardinal is looking for big things from his returning players in Rizzuti, Aulenbach and Matuzak. “Amanda (Rizzuti) is a three point threat and leadership,’ said Cardinal. “Amanda (Aulenbach) we’re looking for her inside scoring and rebounding. Kayla (Matuzak) for her outside scoring and great defender.’

Cardinal is also looking for big things from some of his younger players like Emily Moyer, Taylor Renninger and Paige Sonon. “Emily (Moyer) is point guard to run the show and another tough defender,’ said Cardinal. “Paige (Sonon) is a rebounder and can contribute offensively. Taylor (Renninger) is a low post presence to provide an inside scoring punch and rebounder.

Coach Cardinal sees the league very balanced this year and he knows that his team has to come ready to play every night they step on the court. The Lady Lynx are tied with Tulpahocken at 2-0 in divisional play with Wyomissing and Brandywine Heights nipping at their heals at 1-1 in league play.

“Each school lost some quality players to graduation,’ said Cardinal about the Lynx divisional oppoenents. “It’s always good for your team to play in closely contested games.

If the Lady Lynx can find their identity, and continue to get balanced play, who knows how far this team can go. But there is no doubt that this team could make a very deep run in the district playoffs, and possibly in the state playoffs as well.


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