Women's basketball: Warriors aim to learn, have fun
Ridgewater will be short in stature, depth, experience heading into the sesaon
WILLMAR — The Ridgewater Warriors are going to be short in lots of ways this season.
They'll be short in stature, with post Gabby Randt, listed at 5-foot-10, the tallest player.
They'll be short on depth, with eight players on the roster to start the season.
And, they'll be short on experience. All eight players are freshmen.
"We're going to struggle," Ridgewater head coach Carrie Ogdahl said. "We don't have a true point guard and that makes all the difference in the world."
The Warriors, who were 3-17 last season, do have Randt. She's coming off a strong volleyball season for the Warriors and is a former MACCRAY star.
"I wish I could have five Gabby Randts," Ogdahl said. "I wish she could play all five positions for us.
"We will be expecting a lot from her.
Another area athlete expected to make a big contribution is Zolan Olson. She's a 5-5 guard from Montevideo who will be asked to handle the point-guard duties. it's a position didn't play in high school, though the Thunder Hawks were highly successful in 2021-22, going 26-5 and finishing sixth at the state Class AA tournament.
"She's really quick, staying late and asking me what she can work on," Ogdahl said.
Ogdahl also says she has some fine shooters, so the key will be getting them the ball. She mentioned mallery Geistfeld, a 5-9 wing from Granada-Huntley-East Chain. "She has a beautiful shot," Ogdahl said.
Another top shooter to watch is Erica Lozano, a 5-6 win from Sleepy Eye.
The rest of the roster includes Brook Edlund, a 5-7 post from Rocori, and Odessa De Yoyos, a 5-1 guard from Mountain Lake. Zoey Slvador (5-6, Redwood Valley) and Kayla Reimers (5-8, Westbrook-Walnut Grove) all wings.
With a small roster, Ogdahl expects the Warriors will need to play good help defense and will need to avoid foul trouble.
Ogdahl has been head coach at Ridgewater for 22 years over two stints, returning to the position last season after a hiatus. Her resume includes being a three-time NJCAA coach of the year in 2001, '02 and '06 and having three teams finishing in the top six nationally in NJCAA Division III.
Her main concerns heading into this season are running good practices with eight players and keeping the team on a positive mental level.
"It's really hard to practice when you can't go five-on-five," she said. "We're going to struggle with what we do at times.
"But we need to figure it out and keep working and staying positive."
She said that the numbers in junior college women's basketball are not what they could be nationally.
"The average number per team is nine," she said.
What's the solution? "I could write a book," Ogdahl said.
The pandemic did not help. Ogdahl was hoping to have four returning starters, but transfers to four-year or other schools and the need to work prevented all from coming back. She also said the commitment to a highly competitive program that plays in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference is hard to juggle with school and work.
Ridgewater opens this weekend with games against the Dordt College JV and the Northwestern-St. Paul JV at Minnesota West Community College in Worthington. The Warriors play their first MCAC opponent at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 when they lost Central Lakes College of Brainerd.