Expectations rising for Plum girls basketball

Thursday, November 24, 2022 | 9:59 AM

Expectations have been raised for the second year of the Rich Mull coaching tenure at Plum.

“I was hired at the end of last summer, so we really didn’t have an offseason to put things in place,” Mull said. “We should be more prepared with everyone knowing their roles.

“We enjoy working with this group of ladies. They are starting to get more comfortable with the higher expectations that we have for them.”

The Mustangs were in WPIAL playoff contention late last season until experiencing a six-game tailspin in the final two weeks.

“We need more consistency offensively and defensively this season and better execution,” Mull said. “We want to be more competitive. A long-range goal is to keep the interest up from the younger grades to the high school level.”

Plum was a young team last year with 10 freshmen and five sophomores on its roster, along with three juniors and just one senior.

Mull, a former Plum boys coach at the junior high and junior varsity levels, welcomed five players who saw starting time last year to the start of preseason practice. They are senior guard Camryn Rogers, junior guards Megan Marston and Rayla Smith, senior forward Dannika Susko and junior forward Pascale Olczak.

Olczak, at 6-foot, and Susko, at 5-11, give the Mustangs backcourt height.

Two of the team leaders are expected to be Marston and Susko, both multi-year starters.

“Megan wants to get better every day,” Mull said. “She loves the game, and that will, hopefully, be contagious.

“Dannika can play in the post or on the perimeter if need be. She runs the floor well and can jump. She’s athletic, and she hustles.”

Underclassmen pushing for playing time include sophomore guards Serena Carnahan and Josie Sciulli, sophomore guard/forward Tatum Olczak, freshman guard/forward Riley Stephans and sophomore forward Dani Pici.

“I think we will have more depth this season, and, hopefully, we can play faster,” Mull said.

Plum will try to make noise in Section 1-5A against the likes of Franklin Regional, Gateway, Indiana, Kiski Area, Penn Hills and Woodland Hills.

The Mustangs competed in Section 2-5A last season, finishing tied for fifth place with a 6-14 overall record.

“Our new section will be quite competitive,” Mull said. “We’re familiar with Indiana and Kiski, and we will be getting to know the other teams as well.”

Mull is assisted by Maria Lawhorne, Mike Monstrola, Randy Riggs and volunteer coach Sara Damico.

At a glance

Coach: Rich Mull

Last year’s record: 6-14 (3-9 Section 1-5A)

Returning starters: Dannika Susko (Sr., F), Megan Marston (Jr., G), Camryn Rogers (Sr., G), Pascale Olczak (Jr., F), Rayla Smith (Jr., G)

Top newcomers: Serena Carnahan, (Soph., G), Josie Sciulli (Soph., G), Tatum Olczak (Soph., G/F), Riley Stephans (Fr., G/F), Dani Pici (Soph., F)


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