Coach sidelined. Villa Maria Academy coach Kathy McCartney, whose team is expected to be in the race for the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies title, will have to sit out the first two games of the season.

Some former players volunteered to help the Hurricanes prepare for their PIAA Class AAA semifinal last season against Archbishop Wood, a violation of PIAA regulations.

"I just thought it was great the girls were willing to help out," McCartney said. "I didn't know it was a violation. I was just about to get on the bus to go to the semifinal game when I was told it was against the rules. That was a little unsettling."

McCartney will miss Villa's nonleague opener Tuesday against Downingtown East and league opener Dec. 17 against Villa Joseph Marie.

On a brighter note for the Hurricanes, senior Brooke Angelos, who missed six weeks last season because of an ankle injury, is back. She averaged 10 points in the games she played. Lisa Mirarchi, who filled in for Angelos, will step into the shoes of graduated guard Ellen Cannon.

Finding their way. St. Basil Academy won the Catholic Academies and District 1 Class AAA titles in coach Terry Mancini's first year last season. With four of his starters gone, Mancini said the Panthers are "trying to find our way."

St. Basil, 24-5 last season, will look to six seniors and two juniors to defend its titles. Leading the group is senior Jackie Thompson. She averaged 14 points a game, getting particularly hot late last season. With 785 career points, she is expected to reach 1,000 by season's end.

Mancini has two 5-foot-10 players in seniors Jill Lynch and Jess Dembeck. Another senior, Annie Buckley, is 5-8.

"It's not an easy league to play in," Mancini said of the Catholic Academies. "Mount St. Joseph is probably the favorite, but Nazarath has a veteran team, Villa Maria's always tough, and Merion Mercy and Villa Joseph Marie should be much improved."

Streak ends. The Kimberton Waldorf girls' team went 38-0 the last two seasons, but was winless in its first two games this season.

"We lost a lot of girls," coach Mark Dunphy said. "We start three freshmen. It's a different world."

Lindsey Bolger led the team in scoring in both of its losses. She had 12 points in a 24-20 defeat against Collegium Charter and 10 in a 32-18 setback vs. Woodlynde.    - Don Beideman