POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Poland seeks to defend their conference championship without a trio of key players (Connie Cougras, Morgan Kluchar and Abby Farber).

Coach Nick Blanch hopes to build on the strengths of the team.

“We have a close group of girls. Their commitment to each other [not only] as teammates but as friends. They have a strong desire to get better every day. They have a [strong] work ethic and they’re coachable kids,” he said.

The Bulldogs return a pair of starters in senior center Katie McDonald (7.7 ppg) and junior guard Mary Brant (5.8 ppg). They’ll be joined on the roster by a quartet of seniors in Ariana Daniels (2.6 ppg), Ava Nicholudis (1.7 ppg), Sarah Forsyth (3.1 ppg) and Brooke Rowe (3.2 ppg).

Allie Grope and Leanne Williams are the other juniors on the team this winter. Poland will also feature a large group of sophomores (Gianna Bindas, Kate Harrell, Lucy Harrell, Macy Rodgers) and freshmen (Leanna Boccieri, Lauren Cross, Avery Jakubovic, Lily McDonald, Diane Smith and Elliana Thompson) within the program.

“We look to remain confident and positive throughout the entire season,” Blanch said. “We have to learn from everything we encounter – both good and bad. We must enjoy the process and stick together.”

The Bulldogs open the season slate against Fitch at home on November 28.

Poland Bulldogs
Fast Facts
Head Coach: Nick Blanch
2021-22 Record: 19-6 (13-1), 1st place in Northeast 8
2021-22 Post-Season Finish: Lost to West Branch (51-40) in District Semifinal

2021-22 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 51.9
Scoring Defense: 36.5

2022-23 Schedule
Nov. 28 – Fitch
Dec. 1 – Champion
Dec. 5 – at Boardman
Dec. 8 – Girard
Dec. 10 – Salem (United Way Classic)
Dec. 12 – at Niles
Dec. 15 – at South Range
Dec. 19 – Jefferson
Ec. 22 – Struthers
Dec. 30 – at Canfield
Jan. 5 – Hubbard
Jan. 9 – at Lakeview
Jan. 12 – at Girard
Jan. 14 – United
Jan. 19 – Niles
Jan. 23 – South Range
Jan. 26 – at Jefferson
Jan. 30 – at Struthers
Feb. 2 – at Hubbard
Feb. 6 – Lakeview
Feb. 9 – Canfield
Feb. 11 – at Cardinal Mooney