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(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.