NEW CANAAN—From top-to-bottom, the Rams will have a new look this year.
Let’s start at the top.
Joel Geriak, who was an assistant with New Canaan, will has taken over as head coach, while Danielle Simoneu has essentially traded places with him.
While it’s really just a matter of rank, the girls have still been adapting well.
“It’s been good so far,” Geriak said. “Obviously, Danielle has still been part of the program, we just had a scrimmage yesterday and the kids have done a good job adapting from her style to my style, but the program itself has been pretty similar so it hasn’t been too tough on them.”
Geriak is also the head of the boys basketball program at Wilton, meaning the change hasn’t tough on him either.
“If it was my first head coaching job, it’d be different,” he said. “But, being the basketball coach at Wilton for the last six years has helped.”
Now to the bottom—the youth.
New Canaan expects to be competitive, largely because of senior pitcher Gillian Kane, but this is rebuilding year for the mostly-young Rams.
“We’re very, very young, so this year it’s more about getting the fundamentals down and playing and having a little more carefree attitude,” Geriak said. “I think that will help us this year. Gillian is going to keep us in every game, if we make plays behind her I think we’ll be a .500 team or better and that’s our goal right now to make states. If we start playing well, we’ll look at FCIACs, but states is the main goal.”
Kane may be one of the only consistent aspects of the program at this point, but what a weapon she is, both in the circle and at the plate.
Kane established herself as one of the premier pitchers in the FCIAC last season, and was lethal as the Rams leadoff hitter.
Her role, and ability, only figures to grow.
“She’s got to carry us this year,” Geriak said. “She’s looked great, she has five or six pitches, she’s hitting her spots so far, did well in the scrimmage yesterday. She’s also hitting well, she’ll probably bat third. If we do well this year it will be because of her, it’s pretty simple.”
Kane, along with third-year player Kara Fahey, a junior, have taken a leadership role with the Rams. They’ve helped bridge the gap between the upperclassmen and youth, and despite the will to win, have bought in to Geriak’s plan for future success.
“Those two have been the main reason we can do this,” Geriak said. “They’ve taken the leadership role and if I’m doing something with someone else, they’ll step up with the younger kids.”