UVM club basketball opens year with win


The women’s club basketball team at UVM started strong this season by winning the team’s first one-day tournament at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

“That was a good start to the year, and that carries through,” senior Captain Danielle Esenler said.  “We are really hoping to do well at regionals.”

Both Esenler and her co-captain, junior Juliana Blais, have seen changes in the team since they started playing their first year.

“We’ve done more as a team in general.  We hang out on the weekends and do things together, like play pick-up,” Blais said.  “It’s more casual.”

This off-court bonding was key to the team’s recent success, Esenler said.

“We’re all coming from different high schools, different states, so the more time you spend, on or off the court, really helps how we play,” she said.

The team has three to four games in each tournament and has so far played in two tournaments this year.  They will be playing in another in the spring as well as hosting one of their own.

“This year we’re trying to put together a home tournament for the end of March, so we hope that goes well,” Esenler said.

Esenler and Blais said they are interested in increasing the team’s on-campus presence while at UVM.

“We hope people come to it and support us.  I know it’s hard to get the word out on that kind of thing,” Blais said.

Planning the team’s first home tournament includes contacting other teams, finding referees and reserving space in UVM’s Patrick Gym.

“We’ll be figuring it out as we go,” Esenler said.

Both Blais and Esenler agree that the UVM women’s club basketball team has positively impacted their lives.

“When I got to college, I was so happy that I could continue playing.  I remember when my high school season ended, I was worried that that would be it,” Esenler said.  “Playing club here fits into your college experience.”

For Blais, club basketball helped her find her place in college.

“I didn’t really like UVM. It didn’t really click for me my freshman year, and then, by the second semester when I was really involved with basketball, I started to really find people,” Blais said.

“That’s really the reason why I stayed here and decided not to transfer,” she said.  “It’s something that’s been a really big part of my life here.”