When Methacton announced more than a year ago that it was moving from the Suburban One League's American Division to the Pioneer Athletic Conference, Warriors girls' basketball coach Craig Kaminski expressed some disappointment.
After all, playing in the American Division meant the opportunity to go up against two of the area's premiere girls' basketball programs - Cheltenham and Upper Dublin - at least twice a season.
Following the banner season Methacton had last year - runner-up in the District 1 Class AAAA playoffs, a school best 30-2 record, a division championship and a PIAA elite eight finish - Kaminski would have liked being a defending champion this season.
But this year marks the Warriors' first in the PAC-10, so it will be a different landscape for them.
"Sure, it would be nice to defend our championship," Kaminski said. "It was great to play Cheltenham twice and Upper Dublin, which is always physical and aggressive. But change is also good."
The Warriors, who open PAC-10 play on Tuesday against defending league champ Spring-Ford, will be missing three players, Rachel Meier, Brittany Roth and Renee Womack, from last year's team.
The 5-foot-10 Womack earned all-state honors while averaging better than 15 points a game. She finished with 1,696 points in her career. She's now playing for Penn State.
Despite the shift in leagues, the Warriors' schedule will have some familiar American Division faces on it. They visit Cheltenham on Jan. 10 and host Plymouth Whitemarsh on Jan. 2. They could conceivably face Upper Dublin in Methacton's tip-off tournament. Perennial power Council Rock North is also on the schedule for Dec. 13.
Among the players Kaminski will be looking to this season are junior point guard Lauren Ruhl, senior guards Leeann Randall and Ali Hammond, senior forward Lindsey Allebach, sophomore guard/forward Abby Devlin, and freshman guard Maddy Parker. Allebach is the tallest of the group at 5-9.
According to Kaminski, Ruhl appears a sure bet to become the third Warrior to reach the 1,000-point mark in her career. She averaged 12 points game as a sophomore.
"We're expecting a lot out of Randall," Kaminski said. "She's getting a lot of Division III looks. She's a big-time jump-shooter.
"And Parker could be a tremendous player."
Parker is a standout soccer player who will be playing later this month with her travel soccer team.
"She'll miss some time, but I'd never hold a kid back who has an opportunity like that to play," Kaminski said.
The Warriors play in the PAC-10's Liberty Division (larger schools) with Boyertown, Owen J. Roberts, Perkiomen Valley and Spring-Ford. They beat the Rams in the District 1 semifinals last season.
League members play each division foe twice and members of the other division once. All league games count, with the top two finishers in each division meeting in the league playoffs to determine an overall winner.
Spring-Ford and Perkiomen Valley, along with Methacton, are expected to be the top teams in the Liberty Division. Defending Frontier Division champion St. Pius is a strong favorite to repeat.
"The girls are beginning to find their own identity," Kaminski said of his team. "We're looking forward to playing in the PAC-10."