Springdale girls basketball team espouses hard-hat mentality

Saturday, November 25, 2023 | 8:46 PM

Any team that gears up to face the Springdale girls basketball team better be prepared to bring its hard hats because the Dynamos will have theirs.

“I want our team to be a hard-hat, punch the clock type team. I want them to never say quit no matter what the outcome is. I want us to play hard from start to finish. I want teams to know this ain’t the old Springdale.”

That’s the message by which new coach Mike Dudjak wants his Springdale team to be known.

An all-black helmet showcasing the orange Springdale emblem with the lightning bolt through the middle will become commonly seen throughout Dudjak’s program.

If a player has a strong week during practice and proves she is the hardest worker, the team designates that person to own the new symbol of the Dynamos.

It’s all part of a new change in culture that Dudjak plans to instill in Springdale as it aims to make a statement in the WPIAL Class 2A after a 5-14 overall record and 2-8 finish in Section 3.

In his first season with Springdale, Dudjak brings experience after spending two seasons with the Community College of Allegheny County women’s team after the program was on a four-year hiatus.

If there is someone who understands how to foster change into a program, it’s Dudjak.

“I want us to have a championship mindset and believe that we are going to be successful,” Dudjak said. “I want to change the culture. I want us thinking we are going to win. I don’t want us going in defeated before it even starts.”

A part of that cultural shift is eliminating a certain negative demeanor that no longer is welcomed in the gym.

“I tell the girls all the time that ‘can’t’ and ‘quitting’ are swear words. I don’t want to hear that,” Dudjak said.

In a short period of time with the team, Dudjak has noticed a willingness to learn and adapt the new attitude that is being preached.

“It’s been positive,” Dudjak said. “It’s a work in progress. It’s not anywhere near a finished product, but early on, the effort has been through the roof.”

The two Springdale seniors, Kai Williams and Jocelyn Walters-Vrabel, are leading the way for the team to learn the different mentality.

“They have open minds,” Dudjak said. “They are grasping our concepts and philosophies quickly.”

Joining Williams and Walters-Vrabel as a returning starter is junior Ashlyn Ferderbar, who will play at point guard along with some time at the two.

“She’s an intelligent player,” Dudjak said. “Her vision’s pretty good, and her shot’s great.”

Filling out the lineup, Dudjak will turn to sophomore guard Maggie Simonetti and junior Claire Schneider, who will play in the post.

“Those are two that we are looking to give them time and for them to step up in their roles,” Dudjak said.

Although it’s just Year 1 for Dudjak, he senses the urgency for the Dynamos to become a successful program again and add to the team’s 19 playoff appearances.

“There’s a hunger within the school district and community to win,” he said.

Springdale opens the season with the Leechburg Tournament.

Springdale girls at a glance

Coach: Mike Dudjak

Last year’s record: 5-14, 2-8.

Returning starters: Kai Williams (Sr. G), Jocelyn Walters-Vrabel (Sr. F), Ashlyn Ferderbar (Jr.


Top Newcomers: Maggie Simonetti (So. G), Claire Schneider (Jr. F)


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