Coach: Chris Bennett (ninth season)
Last season: 5-25, 1-11 in NSC Lake, lost to Buffalo Grove in Class 4A Fremd regional opener
Key losses: G Sara Gazdacka, G Sarah Stefaniu
Returning players: Jr. F Elly Daleske, Jr. F Rachel Dawson, Jr. G Casey McGinnis, Jr. G Megan Holbrook, Jr. F Kaylee Grant, So. G Abby Pirron, Jr. F Theresa Bauman
Newcomers: So. G Vanessa DiVincenzo, So. Nicole Gaggiano, So. G Rachel Kuehr, Jr. F Allison Trybula, So. G Frankie Nasca
Outlook: Call a tough loss. At the end of the first semester, forward Kaylee Grant is moving back to Texas. "It's a big loss for us," coach Chris Bennett said. "It's a HUGE loss for the softball team." An all-area catcher last spring, the hard-hitting Grant can hit shots in basketball too. And while she'll be leaving the program in midseason, Bennett has no plans on sitting the junior, who played up as a sophomore last winter. He plans on giving her the playing-time she deserves. "She's a great kid," Bennett said. The Bears suffered a loss over the summer when 5-3 sophomore point guard Vanessa DiVincenzo tore her ACL. She could be back in January. Another sophomore guard, Abby Pirron, returns, as do juniors Elly Daleske and Rachel Dawson. Returning junior Theresa Baumann is the tallest Bear at 6 feet. Bennett has two other sophomore guards up, as well, in 5-6 Rachel Kuehr and 5-1 Frankie Nasca. "We really have nice, talented sophomore guards," Bennett said. "Once they get some experience under their belt, they're going to be pretty good." The Bears won 21 games two seasons ago before slipping to just 5 wins with a relatively young team. This squad isn't overly experienced either, but the coach has confidence in his girls. "I really like them," Bennett said. "We have no seniors, so we know the future is ahead of us. In practice, they're enthusiastic and showing an interest to learn. They're very supportive of each other, and they're going to be competitive. We really have a lot of good potential."