Rice Memorial's Cassidy Derda has her immediate plans in place.
After spending next season playing for Tilton (N.H.) Prep, Derda will begin her Division I basketball career by joining the St. Francis University program in New York City. Derda, a 6-foot-1 forward, gave a verbal commitment to St. Francis last week.
According to the Burlington Free Press, Derda also considered LaSalle and Farleigh Dickenson.
“I was very indecisive about it,” Derda told the Free Press. “I went back and forth. I believe in my heart that's where I'll be the happiest.
“That's been my goal since I was a freshman – to play at a Division I school. I talked to my family and coaches and we decided it would be be better for college after a year of prep.”
Derda transferred from South Burlington to Rice after his sophomore year. She led the Green Knights to the Division I championship game in her junior and senior seasons. Rice defeated Champlain Valley 46-41 to win the Division I title when Derda was a junior. She led Rice with 14 points and 12 rebounds in that game.
Derda averaged 16.1 points, 7-2 rebounds and two blocked shots per game last season.
Derda's decision to spend a year at Tilton Prep was made, in part, because a scholarship wasn't available at St. Francis until the 2014-15 season.
ST. JOHNSBURY HIRES ALERCIO
Former Castleton State College coach Rich Alercio has been named the head football coach at St. Johnsbury Academy.
Alercio served as Castleton State's coach for the program's first two seasons, but resigned after he allegedly violated NCAA rules by arranging student loans for one of his players. Alercio will also serve as St. Johnsbury's assistant athletic director.
“I am honored to be St. Johnsbury Academy's head football coach and assistant athletic director, and am thrilled with the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes and particularly the young men in our football program,” Alercio said in a press release. “I look forward to being a part of the Hilltopper community with its dedicated and loyal fan and alumni base.”
Alericio replaces Sean Murphy, who resigned earlier this spring.
Alerico guided Castleton State, a Division III program, to a 3-6 record in 2009 and a 5-4 record in 2010.
OFFENSE CARRIES U-32
Kristen Keene collected four goals and an assist, and Maggie Lague added three goals and an assist as the U-32 girls lacrosse team improved its Division II record to 10-0 by beating Rice, 13-12, last Wednesday.
Rice (7-2-1) beat U-32 in the quarterfinals last year en route to the Division II title.
The 13-goal effort was U-32's lowest offensive output of the season. BFA-St. Albans (9-0) is the only other unbeaten team in Division II. BFA-St. Albans lost to Rice in last year's championship game.
Essex (Division I) and BFA-Fairfax entered the week as the only unbeaten softball teams in the state.
Essex, last year's Division I champion, was 11-0 and had scored at least 10 runs in seven of those games. The Hornets had also held their opponents to two runs or fewer in eight contests.
BFA-Fairfax was 12-0 and had scored 23 runs or more four times.
TWIN-STATE BASKETBALL COACHES SELECTED
Connie LaRose of Mount Abraham (girls) and Rutland's Mike Wood (boys) will serve as the Vermont head coaches for this summer's Twin-State Basketball Classic against New Hampshire.
The basketball doubleheader will be played at Essex High School on July 13. The girls contest will begin at 6 p.m., and the boys' game is scheduled to start at 7:45.
Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader, and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.