Head coach: Tom Gilligan (2nd season). Assistant coaches: Kevin O’Leary, Michael Gilligan (volunteer), Jill Cuddy (volunteer).
Last year: The Chargers went 0-22 overall, 0-18 in Division I-South.
Returning to varsity:Seniors: Sydney Davis (F, captain), Alex Williams (F). Juniors: Megan Hill (F), Annaliese Kenney (G), Caitlin O’Leary (G). Sophomores: Ally Buckley (F), Layne Hart (G), Jessica LaValley (G), Kate Powers (F).
New to varsity:Freshmen: Casey Mastin (G), Shelby Roode (F), Spencer Shiels (G).
Outlook: After a rough season in Division I, Chariho is back in D-II, where it qualified for the state tournament in 2014-15 and 2015-16. “That’s where we belong,” Gilligan said. “It’s a lot easier to compete with teams in Division II as opposed to Division I.”
The Chargers graduated their top two scorers from a year ago (Tabi King, Jess Rego), but return five players with significant varsity experience, including Powers (6.8 ppg, 8.9 rpg), who was a second-team All-Division I-South performer as a freshman, and Davis, who suffered a concussion in the WCCU Christmas tournament and missed the remainder of the 2016-17 season.
“We’re very athletic,” Gilligan said. “We have some talented, hard-working athletes who share the ball very well. Those two things are going to keep us in every game and keep us competitive in Division II.”
Davis and Powers will be Chariho’s go-to players. “They’re very fast, very active and good underneath the basket,” Gilligan said. “They’re going to lead us.”
Chariho’s overall lack of experience concerns Gilligan, who noted that his freshmen and sophomores are “going to have to learn really quickly to play at the varsity level.”
Helping in that regard is Kevin O’Leary, who joined Gilligan’s staff after coaching the Chariho Middle School program the last few years.
“He’s made a big contribution already,” Gilligan said. “It’s nice to have him with us this year.”
Coach’s take: “Our goals are twofold, to make the Division II playoffs and make the state tournament, to be one of the top 16 teams in the state. I think it’s very doable.”