(Photo: Courtesy / Hillsdale Col­legian)

A host of new chal­lenges await the Hillsdale College women’s bas­ketball team in the 2017 – 18 season, after a 8 – 12 season last year.

For starters, the team finds itself in the G‑MAC, a con­ference which presents a new set of unknown chal­lengers for the Chargers.

Sec­ondly, the team picked up a new head coach, Matt Fritsche. Before coming to Hillsdale, Fritsche served as an assistant coach for Creighton University’s women’s bas­ketball team. Before that he coached at Midland Uni­versity for a year and at Bellevue West High School in Nebraska for 10 years. This season marks Fritsche’s 22nd year of coaching.

Addi­tionally, the team brought in new assistant coach Katie Meister. Before joining the Chargers, Meister served as a two-year graduate assistant at Winona State Uni­versity in Min­nesota. She has expe­rience on the court too; while studying at Augustana Uni­versity, she started five games as a senior in 2013 – 14, aver­aging five points and four rebounds per game in 17 minutes of court time..

Fritsche said he’s hoping to help con­tinue to foster a sense of com­munity in the team.

“The cama­raderie among the whole group is probably the reason why we do this,” he said. “The wins and losses can add up, but what’s really important is the process, and we just want to handle that process well.”

According to Fritsche, the team has been working on cohesion both offen­sively and defen­sively by becoming “a com­mu­ni­cation team and just stressing unselfish plays.”

“We’re very hopeful, but then we’ve only been doing this for two weeks,” Fritsche said.

Freshman Clare Mitchell said Fritsche’s pos­i­tivity and belief in his players has given her con­fi­dence in the season. According to Mitchell, prac­tices are fast-paced and every girl works hard to make each other better.

“It is very dif­ferent from high school but I absolutely love the team and all of the girls are so encour­aging,” she said. “We all push each other to be the best we pos­sibly can be and that’s going to help us be suc­cessful this year.”

The Chargers played Eastern Michigan Uni­versity in an exhi­bition match on Nov. 1. The Chargers lost 70 – 57.