Senior starters to lead Viking girls

4 years ago

CARIBOU, Maine — Injuries derailed Coach Kayla Brown’s second season as head coach of the Caribou Vikings, so she is hoping a return to health translates into success for this year’s squad.


The Vikings managed just three victories all of last season and fell short of making it into the playoffs, a year after reaching the quarterfinals during Brown’s rookie campaign.

Brown said last year’s experience did bring some positives.

“The girls learned the importance of being ready to step in and fill a different role when necessary,” she said.

The Vikings will have to make up for the loss of Alexis Rodriguez, the lone starter who graduated. She was a strong defender and also led the team in scoring. A few other reserve players graduated, while others opted not to return, leaving Caribou with an 11-player roster to begin the season.

Caribou was without 6-foot-1 center Paige Espling for the first 13 games of the 2018-19 season. The senior returns from an ACL injury and gives the Vikings a huge presence in the post, both offensively and defensively.

Three other senior starters are back, with Taylor LaBreck giving the squad a secondary post player. She plays aggressively and is a strong finisher close to the basket. She averaged 6.5 points and five rebounds last year. 

Taylor Skidgel, who led the team in rebounds with six per game, is a versatile performer who plays with great composure and consistency, while Kim Susi, who also missed some time due to injury last season, is quick and can shoot from the outside. Skidgel and Susi led the team in 3-point field goals made and attempted a season ago.

The team’s new point guard is Selena Savage, the younger sister of former Caribou standouts Dayne and Donovan Savage. Brown likes her ability to see the floor and distribute the ball.

Emily Collins, a junior, will see minutes off the bench in the frontcourt and is a solid defender. Seniors Abbi Robbins (3.7 rebounds per game) and Renee Stubbs will receive valuable minutes. Robbins is strong and skilled in the post, while Stubbs is fast and has the ability to score from the perimeter. She led Caribou in 3-point field goal percentage last year.

“We return seven varsity players who have gained confidence and now have a deeper understanding of what it takes to be successful,” Brown said. “This group as a whole is willing to work hard and is excited for the season.”

Sophomore Gabby Sutherland is a first-year player who joins classmates Mia Theriault and Neveah Trombley as players rounding out the Viking roster.

Brown likes the makeup of this year’s team and the unselfishness each player demonstrates.

“This group understands the importance of teamwork and their individual role in the team’s success,” Brown said. “These girls are focused on their contribution to the team rather than individual achievements.

“If they remain confident and consistent throughout the season, this group has a lot of potential,” she added.