BROCKTON, Mass. ---- There is a new era set to begin at for the Massasoit women's basketball program as first-year head coach Mark Leszczyk's squad takes the court for the first time on Saturday vs Nassau Community College at 1 PM inside the Peter Asia Field House.
Following the Warriors and Lions matchup, Monroe College – Bronx will face North Country at 3 PM. On Sunday, the consolation game will take place at 12 PM, followed by the championship game of the two-day tournament at 2 PM.
Massasoit boasts 10 new student-athletes with no returners from the 2017-18 edition of the Warriors that went 8-14 overall and an even 6-6 in league play.
Leszczyk bring a winning tradition to Brockton from Roxbury Community College, where he led the Tigers the last 11 seasons. Over that span, RCC won six Region 21 Championships, the 2016 NJCAA National Championship, while boasting a nearly .800 winning percentage.
Leszczyk is excited to start a new chapter of his coaching career and to get the ball rolling in 2018-19 and will have Kassy Ayanbeku as his assistant for a sixth season.
Massasoit will feature six transfer-sophomores on the roster, along with four first-year players to don the Green and White.
"I am very exciting to get the season finally started. We have a great group of kids," Leszczyk said. "To bring three New York teams here to test us to start the season against two of the three best teams in Region 15 and North Country from Region 3 is also a very quality opponent. Our goal is to play as many non-league games as we can play to get our kids ready for the postseason."
The Warriors will showcase a strong backcourt, with a pair of point guards that will cause havoc defensively and help run the Massasoit offense this season.
"We are extremely strong at the point guard position," Leszczyk said. "We plan to play two of them together a lot of time in Daja Polk and Ky'Jae Hargrove. They are two totally different point guards – Ky'Jae is more of an up-tempo, fast-break kind of player, while Daja runs our half set, but she can run as well. Both of them are extremely talented."
Polk was an standout player at Fairfield Warde high school (Fairfield, CT) before playing a season at Post University. Hargrove, also a Connecticut native, was an all-conference player at Career Magnet high school.
"At first I thought it would be difficult for us to have them play together, but they play together fantastically," Leszczyk said. "Both are very unselfish. I thought there would be a battle between the two of them, but it has gone really well and they will be a tough matchup for opposing teams because they are both extremely quick."
On the wing, the Warriors bring over two transfers from Roxbury in Shania Shorter and Lyric Fortune. Leszczyk praised the intangibles both players bring and the knowledge of already playing in his type of system. Shorter averaged 5.5 points and Fortune 4.7 points as freshmen a season ago.
"They are both fantastic defenders, that is probably their strongest suit," Leszczyk said. "The strong suit of our team this year is our team defense."
"Both are very good defenders. When I am recruiting, I look at defense first and those two fit that mold. Speedy has been a surprise during the preseason. I knew she was good, but she has been even better than I expected," Leszczyk said.
"We have three very nice post players for us. It is going to fun to watch them play together. They provide us with height in the post," Leszczyk said.
Osborne stands six-feet tall and showcased an excellent freshman campaign with the Beacons. A high school teammate with Daja Polk, Osborne averaged 9.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks for a UMass-Boston team that finished 25-4 overall and captured the program's first-ever Little East Championship. Osborne showed great touch around the hoop shooting at an impressive 70.3 percent from the floor.
Robinson played last season at NCAA Division II Livingstone College (North Carolina), where she averaged 4.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, making 11 starts and competing in 26 total contests for the Blue Bears.
Rounding out the trio of post players is Destanee Morales, who transfers from Eastern Oklahoma State College, NJCAA Division I program. As a freshman, she averaged 3.9 points and rebounds in 28 games played.
"There are going to be some exciting things that happen this year," Leszczyk said. "We are going to compete for a region title and a trip to the National Tournament. That's the goal. I tell the kids all the time that the goal is not to win a National Championship. The goal is to put yourself in position to win a National Championship. That is a totally different meaning. That means to get there and once we get there it's a brand new season and we will see what happens."