By all accounts, the Unionville High School girls basketball team had a successful season last winter under first-year head coach Dan Cipollini.Unionville went 13-9 overall, placed third in the Ches-Mont League's competitive American Division, and earned a berth into the District 1 Class AAAA playoffs.

Just two starters from that team were lost to graduation, most notably second team all-league forward Alyssa Brown.

"I think we're further along this year than we were last year at this time," said Cipollini. "We lost one of our leading scorers in Alyssa Brown, so we're going to have to make up the difference there.

"But we hope to continue where we left off. Our league is going to be very tough again, but I think we have a good chance of being competitive in our division. And the girls enjoyed getting a taste of the playoffs last year. That was a great experience, so I know they are really setting their sights on getting back there this season."

The Lady Indians will open its 2008-09 season on Friday, Dec. 5, against Springfield (Delco) in the opening round of the Springfield Tip-Off Tournament.

Unionville, who has 34 kids out for its program compared to just 13 two years ago, returns a number of key players this season.

Junior forward Keli Anderson earned second team all-league honors a year ago, and junior point guard Lizzy Carney was an honorable mention selection.

Others players Unionville is counting on this winter are senior Tiera Stechel (guard), junior Kim Williamson (guard), junior Marianna Gallo (guard) and sophomore Moira McEvoy (center).

"Teams are really going to have to contend with us inside," said Cipollini. "But this year I think we're going to be more complete on offense. Our outside play has gotten better, and those players have gotten older. We had no seniors on the wing last year, they were young. I also think our speed will be a plus."

Unionville is looking forward to getting its campaign underway after a good off-season.

"We're going to be tested right off the bat with our schedule," said Cipollini. "The girls are working hard and doing a nice job of coming together as a team. Hopefully that will translate into us being very competitive."

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