Point guard Sydney Resch was thrown to the proverbial wolves in her rookie season at Ontario’s smallest university.
Playing against veteran women’s basketball players, Resch was made starting point guard for Algoma University in its inaugural Ontario University Athletics (OUA) season.
In that 2013-2014 season, the Sault Ste. Marie-based team didn’t win a single game.
“The first year was a really tough year. I think we were all coming in 17 turning 18, just trying to show Algoma should be there [in the OUA]. It was a building year,” said Resch Saturday, immediately after the second of two weekend games against University of Waterloo.
Transitioning from a successful high school basketball career to playing on a team yet to make the playoffs after three seasons has been tough for the point guard.
Now in her third season, Resch is a veteran on the team — which has been steadily improving.
Last year, the team finished with a 1-19 record and — with six games remaining on the schedule — the Thunderbirds notched this season’s first victory Friday against the Waterloo Warriors.
Ryan Vetrie, head coach of Algoma University, said losing can be tough, but Resch is putting in the work with teammates in an effort to improve.
“She’s been through the ups and downs and has seen from our first year to our third how we have gotten better,” said Vetrie.
The Thunderbirds defeated the Warriors 77-61 Friday, but lost 66-73 to the same team the following night.
“Beating Waterloo was big for us. We are at home, Waterloo is a huge school — we are obviously a smaller one. To play great on Friday and beat them and to have a chance in the second game on Saturday to have a victory, that’s great for them,” said Vetrie.
Resch’s high school career at John F. Ross CVI was much more successful — qualifying for CWOSSA year after year.
Thinking back, she remembers being defeated by Bishop Mac more than once during CWOSSA tournaments.
Now, when Algoma matches up against Queens University, Resch plays against former Bishop Mac post player Andrea Priamo.
The former high school players have continued their respectful rivalry throughout their university careers.
“Every time we battle it out, after the game we do the high fives and be like, ‘good game,’” said Resch.
Earlier this season, both of her team’s games against Guelph University were played in Sault Ste. Marie, but last year Resch had the opportunity to play against the Gryphons in front of a hometown crowd.
She said her parents, friends and former teammates came to cheer her on.
“It’s nice to look out into the crowd and see a little section in the crowd. You want to work for them,” said Resch.
In her third year of Algoma University’s four-year Business program, Resch hopes to continue to achieve her masters.
Until then, Resch said she is going to put the work in to improve the team.
“Each year we get a little closer and we battle a little tighter,” she said.