Sports

New Coach Chris Eckert Set to Lead the Lady Highlander Hoopsters in Season Opener Friday

83474cfe4d044068cf7e_IMG_4524.JPG
Gov. Livingston girls basketball opens the season at home Friday at 7 p.m. against Scotch Plains-Fanwood Credits: M. Kerr
edf9938ccee44a4868cb_glgbbcoach.jpg
New head coach Chris Eckert took on the coaching duties just one week before the 2017/18 season officially opened, coming from Deerfield Middle School. Credits: M. Kerr
e6732b564101a50b5b0b_glgbbberliner.jpg
Credits: M. Kerr
c0011b81dbea456a7003_glgbbcoyle2.jpg
Credits: M. Kerr
e2f1a2ca1e06f57cf63a_glgbbmcglynn.jpg
Credits: M. Kerr
87744a89c8becb5bcddc_glgbbmarisa.jpg
Credits: M. Kerr
8cba6e0506991b767136_glgbbkerr.jpg
Credits: M. Kerr
695d6dd88ef7edec35de_IMG_4502.JPG
Credits: M. Kerr
926afd26501c63c2f57d_glgbb23.jpg
Credits: M. Kerr
451ecc3818bef7565d0f_glgbb24.jpg
Credits: M. Kerr
78dba00952ab2be30c9f_glgbbsolfaro.jpg
Credits: M. Kerr
f58a505d7c672b3da444_glgbbkerr2.jpg
Credits: M. Kerr
2c518a69943f1c7bf10b_glgbb2017.jpg
Credits: M. Kerr
30ab845e05bed7de4c6a_glgbb50.jpg
Credits: M. Kerr
83474cfe4d044068cf7e_IMG_4524.JPG

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - When the Gov. Livingston girls varsity basketball team opens the season Friday night at home against Scotch Plains-Fanwood there will be new faces not just on the court but on the bench as well.

The Lady Highlanders will be taking direction from new head coach Chris Eckert who took on the coaching duties just one week before the 2017/18 season officially opened. Eckert replaces Vin Gulbin (44-29) who unexpectedly resigned on Nov. 2 after three seasons at the helm. Eckert, a first year teacher at Gov. Livingston, who previously separately coached both the girls and boys teams at Deerfield School (Mountainside), was fortunately available to take the reigns at Gov. Livingston for his first high school head coaching position.

The biggest challenge Eckert faces is molding together a very young and inexperienced varsity team especially with such a short practice window. Implementing new offensive and defensive sets, defining player expectations and roles, and creating a competitive spirit have been preseason priorities. Although Gov. Livingston returns five players who saw varsity minutes, Eckert's roster will be mostly made up of inexperienced underclassmen. 

Sign Up for E-News

Gov. Livingston will need to replace about 70 percent of last year's point production which was lost to graduation. This season the team plans to employ a quicker paced offense while attacking the basket more from the wing than the post. Defensively, look for the Lady Highlanders to play a more physical game with on ball pressure extended beyond half court. A high energy defense will hopefully jump start the offense in the early season until the team finds more of an offensive identity.

Coach Eckert's Season Outlook – "Like every season, our goal is always to win the Mountain division. We will be counting on our seniors to be leaders on and off the court this year. For our younger players, our goal is to compete every day in practice and in games, and to get better throughout the season." 

Coach: Chris Eckert (first year)

Last season: (10-15, 6-4) Lost to Voorhees 57-45 first round North Jersey II,Group 3 state playoffs

Union County Conference (Mountain Division) - GL, Johnson, Oak Knoll, Rahway, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, Summit

Season/Home Opener - December 15th at 7 p.m. vs Scotch Plains-Fanwood

NJISSA State Bracket - North Jersey, Group 3

Can’t Miss Game - January 6th vs New Providence. Gym will sell out on Super Saturday. Get your tickets early.

Key Players Lost

The Lady Highlanders lost their leading scorer (21 ppg) and rebounder, Lindsay Gerrato, who scored 1144 points over her three year varsity career. Also lost to graduation was versatile Lara Romano (8 ppg), who also was the team's best defender. The two combined for approximately 70 percent of the team's offense and controlled things in the paint and on the boards.

Key Players Returning

Skylar Dowling (soph, point guard) – Dowling took on big responsibilities as a freshman last season as the starting point guard and came through with an outstanding season. Dowling was second in the team in scoring (12.3 ppg) and the team's best three point shooter, connecting on 48 three balls. She hit a career high 7 three pointers against Cranford and scored in double digits 13 games last season. This season while orchestrating the offense for coach Eckert she will need to do two things: keep the defense honest with her long range shooting and most importantly getting the ball to her teammates in position for them to score.

A trio of seniors, Allie McGlynn, Michelle Coyle, and Stacey Berliner will make up the starting front court. McGlynn was a starter at forward last season and is a strong rebounder and aggressive defender. She should provide more inside scoring this year after averaging 3.3 ppg last season. Coyle will provide a strong presence in the post on both ends of the floor. Berliner can play both guard and forward and will be counted on to provide more scoring from the perimeter. All three girls will provide the senior leadership on and off the court to this young team.

Junior Fiona Kerr (guard/forward) will most likely join Dowling, McGlynn, Berliner, and Coyle in starting lineup. Kerr got some valuable experience as a part time starter last year as a sophomore. Can put the ball on the floor and take it to the basket or shoot the short jumper. 

Promising Newcomers

Abbey Solfaro (junior, guard), missed last season with an injury and has been working her way into the rotation this season as a solid complimentary player. Three sophomore's Paige Phillips, Jess Roland, and Shannon Polimeni all saw limited action last year at the varsity level. Phillips who has good ball handling skills and a nice mid-range shot has had a solid preseason and is challenging for a starting position at the 2. She will serve as the backup point when Dowling is not in the game. Roland can play all three front court potions and is a strong finisher under the basket. Polimeni combines a strong understanding of the game with solid fundamentals and should prove to be a valuable role player in her first varsity season. Also securing roster spots, sophomore forward Jillian Meltzer, and freshman guard Kelsey DiStaso. Meltzer is a tall athletic forward who has continued to improve her game on both ends of the floor and will be fighting for minutes in a crowded front court. DiStaso, who has already earned her first varsity letter as a freshman member of the soccer team, is a combo guard/forward who is an aggressive defender and rebounder.

Rounding out the roster is spirited senior Marisa Fudenna, who offers unwavering  support to her teammates and will surely ready to take the court when coach Eckert gives her the nod.

Strengths- Physical play, high energy, motivated young players. 

Weakness - Lack of game experience, overall size, and consistent perimeter shooting 

From the Turf to the Hardwood - Coyle, Berliner, DiStaso, Solfaro, and Polimeni all are soccer athletes at Gov. Livingston

Big Sisters,Little Sisters - Dowling, Polimeni, Berliner ,Coyle,and DiStaso all had older sisters who starred for the Lady Highlanders in past seasons.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Free Public Panel Will Explore Sexual Assault and Consent

April 23, 2018

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites members of the public to attend a panel discussion on sexual assault and consent on Wednesday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m. in Room N-4 at Union County College, 1033 Springfield Avenue in Cranford. The panel will feature a question and answer session.

The panel discussion is intended to raise awareness about sexual assault and consent in ...

Presentation on College Admission and College Readiness At New Providence High School, Tuesday, April 24

New Providence High School will host a special parent presentation, “College Admission Does Not Guarantee College Readiness!” with Dr. Joel Ingersoll, Tuesday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m. in the New Providence High School Auditorium, 35 Pioneer Drive.

Dr. Joel, a NJ Licensed Psychologist and Certified Master Coach, will lead a one-of-a-kind experience, designed to help you maximize ...

Union County Freeholder Board Reminds Seniors on New Medicare Cards

In recognition of May as Older Americans Month, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds Union County’s senior adults that they will receive new Medicare cards from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this summer.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is the federal agency that runs the Medicare program. It is a branch of the US Department of ...

Politics IS Government in Union County

April 22, 2018

After Bruce Patrson of Garwood was stopped from speaking at the Union County freeholder meeting of March 22 regarding the politics behind refusing to give the party line to a sitting freeholder I thought this brazen suppression of free speech could not go unanswered. A the the April 19 meeting I answered with these comments.

After ten years of following government in Union County I conclude ...

Thank You, St. Joseph's Volunteers

Thank You from St. Joseph Social Service Center

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers that serve the poor and homeless at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth (http://www.sjeliz.org).  Whether you make a sandwich, collect toiletries, tutor in the job program, make soup, wrap Christmas gifts, donate food, ...

New Providence Borough Council to Cultivate Relationships with County Officials

April 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Councilman Robert Robinson touted the importance of personal relationships with Union County representatives at the Monday, April 9 council meeting.

Union County Freeholders Angel Estrada and Bette Jane Kowalski attended the Street Smart campaign kick-off event prior to the meeting providing the council members with the opportunity to chat face-to-face with the two ...

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

April 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Fueled partially by their disappointment that students were not allowed to leave school for the nationwide student protest last month, student leaders planned a rally Friday on the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre in Colorado. At 4:30 p.m., students, parents, families, community members met at Chisholm Community Center to register voters, make ...

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

April 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Fueled partially by their disappointment that students were not allowed to leave school for the nationwide student protest last month, student leaders planned a rally Friday on the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre in Colorado. At 4:30 p.m., students, parents, families, community members met at Chisholm Community Center to register voters, make ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, April 26, 7:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Outsmart the Scammers

Education Law & Justice

Fri, April 27, 5:30 PM

Brookside Community church, Mendham

Raptor Trust Presentation and Pasta Dinner

Arts & Entertainment Education Food & Drink

Carousel_image_4b4bef174301461e6e3a_81afd120e2a1e04c4169_2015_hotdogs

Fri, April 27, 7:30 PM

MONDO & Summit Area YMCA, Summit

Movie Night at Mondo "Food Evolution"

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Sat, April 28, 7:00 PM

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield

Plainfield Symphony Mahler's 9th Symphony

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, April 29, 1:00 PM

The Monninger Center/The Orangerie at Fairleigh Dickinson University Madison Campus, Madison

Sculpting the Land - Creating Gilded Age Gardens

Education Green Home & Garden