The passion of the coyotes ignites the court

It was a message sent and received with the help of Saint Catherine. As such, it was just one of many messages heard over the course of a season that, aside from Sjerven, Lamb, and Korngable, would begin with players in new roles.

Maddie Krull and Kyah Watson joined the three seniors in the starting lineup with Grace Larkins first on the bench. Natalie Mazurek, Macy Guebert, Jeniah Ugofsky and Allison Peplowski have all averaged seven minutes or more per game. Plitzuweit also counted Morgan Hansen, Aspen Williston and Regan Sankey as key contributors in a season that featured 16 players. Alexi Hempe, Carley Duffney and Cassidy Carson were also part of the effort, but not on the active roster.

The necessary magic involved everyone understanding their role. For the senior starters, a group that includes Sankey, it was a deliberate effort to make sure everyone — freshmen, sophomores, juniors — all embraced that particular dynamic.

“We’ve always had ways – I would almost say ‘cheesy’ – of creating chemistry,” Sjerven said. “But from there, we made real connections.”

There have been very intentional ways to bring everyone together throughout the season. Sjerven laughed as she recounted what she called “ice cream dates” with young teammates, but understood their effectiveness in establishing a team culture.

“You develop a real relationship with your teammates,” she said. “You learn to trust yourself on and off the pitch.”