VIRGINIA — The Mesabi Range College women’s basketball team is down to five players due to injuries and has been forced to cancel its games this week.
Head coach Brad Matuszak is remaining confident that his squad can get back on the court quickly.
“We’re shooting for next weekend to hopefully play again, but that’s still kind of up in the air too,’’ Matuszak said in a telephone interview.
The second year coach said his team was at eight before three injuries impacted the roster. “I don’t know how long they’re going to be out. We’ve already canceled our games for this week,’’ which were scheduled for today at home and Friday and Saturday on the road.
Matuszak just couldn’t see going ahead with the games with such low numbers.
“I’m not going to play with five,’’ he said. “I would like to have at least 6. It’s hard to play with five just because there is no rest for any of them.’’ If the team has any foul trouble or injuries during such a contest, “then we’re shot. Ideally I’d like to have eight, nine or 10, but I don’t have that right now. We’ll keep plugging away here.’’
One player’s injury has kept her out the last couple years and it just isn’t getting better,’’ Matuszak said.
Another happened about six weeks ago, and the player will be getting out of a walking boot Thursday, he stated. “We’re going to hopefully see how much physical therapy she has to do but hopefully she can be back sooner rather than later.’’
Matuszak is doing everything he can on the recruitment front to stock his roster. He had some girls that were attending Mesabi for academics. “They were here and I was hoping to get them. That hurts too, but it’s their choice’’ not to play basketball.
Matuszak added that a lot of teams in the Minnesota Community Athletic Conference are down in numbers, while a few have loaded rosters. He doesn’t know why that is happening, but “we’ll keep pushing, keep fighting. It can turn around for us still this year once we get our injuries healed up and back. Hopefully we can get some games under our belt here.’’
The coach knows the other teams want to play, but “I don’t know if it’s giving them any competition either. We’d like to go out there and compete, not just go through the motions.’’
Matuszak said he is a bit down about the troubles filling his roster.
“It’s a learning experience for me. It’s my second year here at Mesabi with the women. Last year we struggled with numbers and we struggled again this year. It’s a learning experience for me. I’m recruiting heavier and harder in more areas right now than I’ve ever done so I’m hoping to not let this happen again.
“We’re just as disappointed as anybody not being able to get out there and play the games. Things happen and we just have to deal with them and learn from it. Hopefully we can get a team out there soon.’’