The dream remains alive at Solano Community College.
This year’s women’s basketball team hopes to continue a tradition of excellence that defined the program for more than 20 years.
Fresh off raising the program’s 12th banner at Solano Gym this winter, the Falcons field another versatile squad in 2015-16. That suits Solano coach Matt Borchert, now in his 16th season, just fine.
These Falcons fit in perfectly to his up-tempo style of play – the players run the floor well, they are athletic and they know how to score. Most importantly, though, they want to get better and are improving every day.
The fast break will be as exciting as ever, but offense in the half court will be intense with all 12 players able to score from anywhere on the floor in Coach Matt’s motion-style offense.
Coach Matt prides himself on being a defensive-stopping team as well though. This year’s team features players who will do all that they can to keep the opponents’ scoring low.
The game strategy changes a bit this year, however, and it should be interesting to see how NCAA-adopted rules changes affect the game and Solano’s strategy.
The team’s schedule has a new look for the first time in several years. Two single games were added to the preseason schedule, two new teams are joining the Solano Showdown and the Falcons test themselves in a new tournament to kick off the year.
The Bay Valley Conference adopted a new format this year that makes the race for a banner even more competitive.
Coach Matt, who is just 11 wins away from achieving his 300th career victory at Solano, has put together a highly cohesive, versatile group of players who strive to get better every day.
The story lines are plenty meaning that this season will be filled with excitement at every turn.
Miranda Holman is the only returning sophomore from last year’s Bay Valley Conference championship team. She saw plenty of action in the second half of the season, became very confident in several aspects of her game and contributed heavily down the stretch. Miranda was named a captain and her leadership will be relied upon heavily for this year’s young team.
Christen Voyles returns from the 2013-14 season where she made solid contributions as a freshman. She can play all five positions on the floor for the Falcons, has the ability to knock down 3-pointers and sees the floor well. Her familiarity with the system will be impactful as the season progresses.
Alex Bader has a long history with the Solano program – she used to attend SCC’s summer camp. She returns to Fairfield after spending a year at Linfield College in Oregon. She was also named a captain and is a natural leader who does well in the classroom.
Mae Moore is one of the top defenders on the team and the fastest player. Solano will rely heavily on her abilities at the point guard position. Her on-ball pressure defense will play a huge factor in the team’s defensive success.
Mariel Dinglasan returns to the basketball court after several years’ absence and her maturity will be essential to shaping this year’s team. She’s been named a captain and is ready to show what she can do on both sides of the floor. Mariel is the most fit player on the team, according to Coach Matt – she is a tough defender and an aggressive guard who jumps well. While she can knock down some shots on offense, she will make the most impact for the Falcons on the defensive end.
Alivia Trzesnewski is a solid fundamental player from a good high school program – Napa High. She has the ability to play a lot of minutes this year and will be a great option as a backup point guard. She is aggressive and tough, two attributes that are sometimes hard to find in a freshman.
Aiyana Gilliard is the “junk yard dog” of the group. She plays hard, rebounds hard and understands the game. She can handle the ball well and knock down a 3-pointer.
Cassandra Jones might look familiar to many Falcon fans. She’s the younger sister of Audrie Jones, who finished up a successful two-year career last year. Cassandra has the ability to knock her sister right out of the record books and potentially be one of the best shooters in the state this season. She comes from a solid high school program – Vanden High – and knows how to win. Cassandra is a smart player and the coaching staff is excited to continue the Jones family tradition at Solano.
Look for Geraldine Tiongson to continue to make big strides as the season progresses. She is one of the hardest workers on the team. Geraldine is a ball handler who has the ability to score.
As one of the tallest players on the team Kyara Reed carries a big weight on her shoulders. She has a ton of athleticism and is extremely strong. Those two factors make her one of the top rebounders and shot blockers on the team, but hopefully also one of the top in the state. She has the ability to score inside the paint and outside and is a good ball-handler as well.
LaNia Adams played point guard in high school and gives the Falcons yet another option at that position. She will see time at all five positions as she has an incredibly strong body and knows how to use it to get to the basket. Her versatility and physical play will be a big factor to Solano’s success this year.
Dyemond Mitchell has earned the nickname “Draymond” from the coaching staff and her teammates. She is an all-around player like Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green – ball-handling abilities, a pure shooting stroke, an exciting post game – that will present a challenge for opponents. Dyemond has great size that she uses well to go after rebounds. She has the ability to guard bigger players and won’t back down from anyone.
Solano kicks off the season at the Riverside tournament. Coach Matt wanted to face tough Southern California competition after the Santa Barbara tournament folded after last year. He was able to find that in Southern California. The Falcons open with Cerritos College in November.
The schedule moves along at a steady pace after that with a game at longtime foe Siskiyous on Nov. 24. The two teams haven’t met since a playoff game in 2010.
Solano heads to one of the top tournaments in the state at the Tom Gilcrest Invitational at College of Sequoias at the beginning of December. North meets South in this highly competitive event that features four days of great teams and great players showcasing their skills.
The Falcons turn right around and host Cabrillo College in what Coach Matt hopes is the beginning of a home and home series with the Santa Cruz-based college.
The team doesn’t get much time off before opening its own Solano Showdown the very next day. Solano welcomes South power College of the Canyons and Feather River into the 21st edition of the Showdown. Solano last won the event in 2013.
The Falcons get some time off for finals and holiday break but get right back on the court at the end of December to wrap up the preseason schedule at the Mike Gervasoni Memorial Classic at DeAnza College.
Solano looks to three-peat with another BVC title when the conference season starts in January. Because the Falcons have posted the best record the past two seasons, they play the lowest two teams – Yuba and Los Medanos – only one each this year. They go home and home with all of the other conference teams.
Coach Matt and his coaching staff admit that the new rules adopted by the NCAA make the women’s basketball game very interesting.
Games are now played over four, 10-minute quarters versus two, 20-minute halves. Each team also has more timeouts, but must use them strategically.
The NCAA eliminated one and one free throws in the women’s basketball game. After each team accumulates five fouls in one quarter, the opposing team shoots two free throws. Fouls are also reset at the beginning of each quarter.
There is a lot of excitement brewing at Solano once again. A solid group of players, an always tough schedule, a coaching staff that accepts nothing but the best and some exciting changes to the game should make this season another thriller for all in attendance.
Mark your calendars for every game and follow the team on various social media channels when you can’t be there in person. You won’t want to miss the excitement!