SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Spotswood High School girls basketball coach Jill Hetzler is eyeing the upcoming season on the court with anticipation and excitement.
"I'm really looking forward to this entire season and have been itching to go since the birth of my daughter last year," Hetzler explained.
Hetzler has been the head coach for the girls basketball team for the past six seasons. The veteran physical education teacher at Spotswood High School also served as an assistant on the team for five years prior to taking over the bench. Hetzler has a 73-48 record during her time with the program. She missed last season due to her maternity leave. Rich Gawlak served as the head coach in her absence.
Last year, the girls varsity basketball team suffered through a difficult 8-18 season. Previously, the team had an outstanding 18-7 record for the 2014-15 season, winning the Greater Middlesex Conference Blue Division Championship. This year, Hetzler and her team will be looking to return to those winning ways.
"Our team goal is to compete for another blue division championship and bounce back from last season," Hetzler said. "We will look to use our speed and height to our advantage."
The team did loose two key players to graduation. Standouts Grace Mehr and Jessica Meagher both graduated in June. However, there are four key returning varsity players that will be looking to make an impact. Seniors Mary Beth Barnosky and Olivia Hellerich will be anchoring the guard position.
Despite last year's losing record, Barnosky had a productive season, scoring 253 points in 24 games. She has a career total of 461 points thus far as a Charger.
"Mary Beth Barnosky has been in touch with a number of coaches at the next level," Hetzler said.
Hellerich had 75 points in 21 games last season and has 115 career points in 38 games with Spotswood.
Juniors Sarah Marotta and Erin Malin will be bringing their experience and stellar play back to the court this season as well while four newcomers will be looking to make their mark. Sophomores Savannah Robinson and Paige Dadika have joined the Chargers varsity lineup along with freshmen Jessica Addesso and Maddie Hellerich. Hellerich will be playing alongside big sister Olivia this season.
The team will play five scrimmages beginning on December 7 before playing their season opener on Friday, December 16 at 7 p.m. at the Spotswood High School Gymnasium against Carteret High School.
The Chargers will also be playing a benefit game this season with the proceeds going toward the Michael C. Denora Foundation. They have been participating in a charity game with the proceeds going towards the foundation for the past six seasons. The Michael C. Denora Foundation was created in memory of Michael Denora from Clark, New Jersey to help in the battle against childhood cancers. It provides "time, money and positive experiences to families with children battling cancer." The game date for the charity game will be announced.