Lady Eagles basketball has ‘tough work’ ahead

Sam Brolley, IV Leader Sports Writer

To the joy of Illinois Valley naturalists, the bald eagles will return to our area in a few months in preparation for winter. Here at IVCC, we have the opportunity to witness the Lady Eagles basketball squad return to action in early November.

New head coach Tom Ptak has taken over the job after Pat Cinotte’s successful tenure, which included over 100 wins.

Ptak noted that he considers this season a “transition period” as he adjusts from 12 seasons coaching girls basketball at St. Bede Academy.

Ptak noted that his time at the Academy taught him the importance of proper preparation and the need for a coach to motivate players.

Personnel numbers will most likely be low as the play-caller will work with only three returning sophomores, all of whom are starters. Returning sophomores include Ottawa graduate Kara Kistenfeger, Marquette graduate Jessica Jessen and Princeton graduate C.J. Rhodes.

As the regular season starts Nov. 2 against Daley College, Ptak said that he is still learning the conference and that no games particularly stand out from the others except for the first one.

When asked about how his players would describe him, Coach Ptak laughed and guessed that they would think of him as “easygoing and fair.” He was right.

Rhodes, a sophomore guard, described her coach as “nice, laid-back, and easygoing.” She added that Ptak has a “good basketball IQ.”

Rhodes said that she is excited about playing with her new teammates.

She listed some highlights from her freshman season as a team trip to St. Louis as well as a Rip’s Chicken fundraiser for the program.

Noting the importance of beating Region IV rivals like Kishwaukee and Elgin, Rhodes summarized her expectations for the season with the phrase “tough work.”

The Eagles have a number of preseason games scheduled to help prepare for the regular season.