Souderton Foursome to Play Collegiate Basketball

On Friday, April 20, 2018, Souderton seniors Alana Cardona, Tori Dowd, Kate Connolly & Sami Falencki were recognized for committing to play collegiate basketball. To view photos of the event, please visit the Photo Gallery.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime type of class,” coach Lynn Carroll said. “From obviously a skill set and what they can do on the court and then the invaluable things they brought off the court – leadership and kids that are just fun to be around, fun for their teammates and certainly fun for their coaches. They’re not just basketball players. They did a lot of other things during their time in high school. They’re solid in the classroom. This would be a first for me where we have a senior class larger than one and they’re all playing at the next level, and I think that’s a testament to how much they love the game and obviously their work ethic.
“Realizing that coaching these girls has come to an end – I was at graduation. Souderton does a great job where they invite any teacher kindergarten through 12th grade and we form a tunnel on the field, and all the graduates walk through the tunnel. There are two lines, so you don’t get to see every kid. Tori Dowd walked by, and she said, ‘Hi,’ and I said, ‘Hi,’ and I said, ‘Please don’t leave me,’ and it’s just so much how I feel about this group.”

Alana Cardona – Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Basketball)
Major: 
Communications
Final list of colleges:  IUP, Chestnut Hill, La Salle
Reasons for choosing IUP:  “I chose IUP because of the family atmosphere that the team had.”
Favorite Souderton sports memory:  “My favorite memory was cutting down the nets after Senior Night against William Tennent.”
Coach Lynn Carroll says:  “I haven’t coached any other kid who has shown such improvement from ninth through 12th grade. She just committed to doing it. She wanted to become a college basketball player, and she wanted to become a kid who played for Souderton that people remembered, and she accomplished both of those things. Everything she earned she worked really hard for. I feel like Alana has also been the vocal leader for us over the past two years, whether it was in the locker room or during games and practices or with the media. I think back to last season, her junior year, after we lost in the final four and how she represented herself so well when she was interviewed. She has definitely been the vocal leader of this team the last two years, and the amount she has grown – and not just basketball-wise – has been really, really neat to watch. Some kids when they’re 12 or 13 are just better than people, they’re more athletic, they’re faster and they’re stronger, but Alana has really worked to turn herself into a player. She’s earned that scholarship that she’s getting as much as anyone I’ve ever coached.”
About Alana:
Favorite food: 
Ribs
Favorite movie:  Safe Haven
Favorite music:  Country

Kate Connolly – Drexel University (Basketball)
Major: 
Mathematics
Final list of colleges:  Drexel, Lehigh, Thomas Jefferson, Delaware
Reasons for choosing Drexel:  “I chose Drexel because I really enjoyed the coaches and the team. I think coach is going to make me a better player, and I really enjoyed the girls that I’ll be playing with.”
Favorite Souderton sports memory:  “My favorite Souderton basketball memory was definitely getting together and playing the North Penn Titans. It was a fun night, and we all got to work together.”
Coach Lynn Carroll says:  “There are just so many things that Kate does that I don’t know if I’ll ever get another one like her. You name it – she does it on the basketball court. She is the total package, and obviously, her size adds to all of that. She clearly, clearly was the difference maker. Going from freshman and sophomore years for these guys to their junior and senior years, it’s night and day. There are a lot of reasons for it, but Kate was really the catalyst behind it. We have postseason meetings with returning players, and one thing we talked to the rising seniors about was who is going to be that calm sense on the court – it’s going to be okay, I’m not going to get rattled. That’s another thing Kate gave us. She gave us offense, she gave us defense, she gave us the ability to block shots, rebound and pass the ball. She made shots and all that, but she just always had this way – I think everybody felt more confident because of how Kate carried herself. We’re going to miss everything I mentioned, but I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a kid who brought that part of it the way that she did where she was just even keeled and calm and wanted to win and was competitive, but if something didn’t go well, she moved on to the next play. She was willing to take the big shot. She is as total of a package as I have ever coached. She’s a nice kid, she isn’t worried about herself, and she wants what’s best for the team. You can’t quite find the words to describe the impact she had and is going to have at Drexel. She really set the tone for our team. Another part of our reputation was how well we moved the ball and how well we shared the ball – it doesn’t matter who scores, and I think she really set the tone. This summer that’s how we’ve continued to play because it’s become our identity. She’s going to have a lasting impact on this program long after she’s gone.”
About Kate:
Favorite food: 
Pancakes
Favorite movie:  The Avengers
Favorite music:  Country

Tori Dowd – Muhlenberg College (Basketball)
Major:
Pre-Physician’s Assistant
Final list of colleges:  Muhlenberg, Haverford, Franklin & Marshall
Reasons for choosing Muhlenberg:  “I thought that Muhlenberg was the best choice for me because I’m majoring in Pre-Physician’s Assistant, and it was the best opportunity I had academically and athletically.”
Favorite Souderton sports memory:  “Winning the district championship with my best friends.”
Coach Lynn Carroll says:  “In my opinion, Tori is a one-of-a-kind player. The intensity that she plays with is second to none. There’s nobody that plays harder than her. She’s been my point guard for four years. It’s hard to remember when she wasn’t my point guard. The example she sets for other kids – a lot of coaches and officials would say things to me about how hard our team works, and no doubt in my mind that a big part of that is because of Tori. How can you not work hard when you watch what that kid does? She played 32 minutes most nights and was just relentless. It was so important to her to do her job well defensively. Obviously, she didn’t get talked about a lot when it came to scoring points and what she did on offense. She was a solid point guard who got better every year at it, got more comfortable every year. I trusted her when the ball was in her hands. She did a great job of setting up her teammates. Towards the end of her senior year really started to look a little bit more to get to the basket and to make teams pay for kind of ignoring her. She’s a once-in-a-lifetime player for sure.”
About Tori:
Favorite food: 
Guacamole
Favorite movie:  Father of the Bride
Favorite music:  Rap

Sami Falencki – Arcadia University (Basketball)
Major:
Physical Therapy
Final list of colleges:  Arcadia, Bryn Athyn, Wilkes University
Reasons for choosing Arcadia:  “I chose Arcadia because it was the best fit academically and financially. When I met the coaches and players, they made me feel very welcome, and they really encompassed the family atmosphere.”
Favorite Souderton sports memory: “My favorite memory was beating one of our rival teams, CB South, for the Suburban One League and District championships.”
Coach Lynn Carroll says:  “Sami really has been the ultimate team player. When she got into games, both last year and this year she had games where she hit some big shots, big threes for us, when we needed some momentum and we got it. Her junior year against PW in states was definitely a huge, huge game for her. When points were getting hard to come by, she hit a couple of big threes, and she had a couple of big moments in the postseason this year. It’s a tough position to be in – when you don’t know when your number is going to be called to stay ready, and she has always done that. More importantly, when she was on the bench, the type of teammate she was has just set such a great example for the younger kids in our program. No one cheered more than Sami. In the locker room, if I’m asking for suggestions – what are you guys seeing, do you have any thoughts, she was one who would speak up often. In practices, she was very much a vocal leader. She has really, really been a team player, stayed ready whenever we needed her and capitalized on some opportunities to make a name for herself, especially in the postseason the past two years.”
About Sami: 
Favorite food:  Chicken Fingers
Favorite movie:  17 Again
Favorite music:  Rap