RCC brings back women’s basketball after a two-year hiatus

Published 8:20 pm Monday, November 13, 2017

After two straight years without a team, women’s basketball is back at Riverland Community College.

The Blue Devils officially competed for the first time since 2015 when they lost a pair of games in the Minnesota West Tournament over the weekend. They will host Gustavus JV in its home opener in Riverland Gym at 5:30 p.m. Thursday

The process of getting a team on the floor hasn’t been an easy one as RCC thought it had a team last season, but injuries caught up to the squad and it had to cancel the season. This season the Blue Devils have nine players in the mix and head coach Douglas Waldner is hoping RCC can make some important first steps as a program this year.

Riverland women’s basketball player and Hayfield graduate Sophia Waldner works the ball around during a recent practice at RCC. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

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“We’ve just got to get through this first season and once we get through this season it’ll get a lot better after that. Last year was unfortunate and this year we’ve got committed girls who want to play basketball,” Waldner said. “We’ve got girls with good heads on their shoulders with high basketball IQs. I really think we can be a contender in the conference. There’s some things they have to learn about maturity and the speed of the game and I think that will come.”

Waldner’s daughter Sophia, a Hayfield grad, is in the fold to play point guard for RCC and she’s hoping the team will put in the work necessary to make improvements throughout the year.

“We’ve got a small group, which it makes it tough to practice, but everyone’s working hard and we’re excited for the season,” Waldner said. “It’s tough [playing for my dad]. We kind of clash sometimes.”

LeRoy-Ostrander grad Sam Siskow was set to play last season before the season came to an early close. Now she’s excited to be part of a program that she hopes is on the rise.

“It’s exciting to be part of a turning point for the school and there’s a lot of responsibility on our shoulders to play well for the future teams,” Siskow said. “I think that the girls we have are really good starting base and we’re a solid team if we decide to work hard. It’s a great opportunity to get things started.”

RCC will feature a team that has all first-year players and will have to wait for one of its top recruits to get on the floor. Angel Williams is battling an injury, but she’s hoping to get back on the floor in January to give her team a boost.

“I really wish I could play right now, but it’ll get better and I’ll be happy when I come back,” Williams said. “I feel like we’re a strong-minded team. We’ve just got to talk to each other. We’ve got a lot of learning to do, but we can be a good team if we work hard.”