NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - After a tough loss in the first round last winter's Union County Tournament to Plainfield, and a loss to Bloomfield Tech in the latter stages if the Group 1 state tournament, the Lady Pioneers of New Providence and star sophomore guard Sydney Morang look to have a successful 2013-2014 campaign.

With the graduation of second-leading scorer Cassandra Squeri and center Casey DeVoogd, two valuable starters from last year's team, it would seem as if New Providence would be at a major disadvantage coming into the season.  However, with the influx of incoming freshmen and improved seniors, the Lady Pioneers are poised for a big season.

Freshman Katie Kinum, according to New Providence head coach Cap Pazdera, is one of those freshmen who will have a relevant role on this year’s team.

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“With Cassandra graduating last year, we lost 12 points per game.  However, Katie is a scorer,” said Pazdera.  “Having her in there, she can either run the point, play the 'two,' or play the 'three.'

“Having a versatile scorer fill the shoes we lost is great.  It’s sort of like picking up where we left off last year.”

Kinum is not the only newcomer who will have a prominent spot in the rotation. Hannah Caminiti, Sarah Zeto and Brielle Carleen are three more freshmen who expect to see important minutes this season, as well as Marissa Jankow and Erica Boyd, who are juniors up from the JV.

“Hannah Caminiti and Sarah Zeto know the game of basketball very well.” Said Pazdera. 

With all of the talent they will have on the court this season, the Lady Pioneers are pushing for a repeat as conference champions, as well as making a deep run in the county and state tournament.

“We want to repeat as conference champs, which was something we accomplished last year,” said Pazdera.  “We definitely want to better in the Union County Tournament as well.”

Despite an opening-day loss to powerhouse Neptune on Saturday, New Providence looks to rebound on Friday when it meets West Morris High School in Basking Ridge for a holiday tournament for three games. New Providence opens up at home against Union Catholic on Jan. 4.