Koval takes the reins for Lady Trojans
Keeley Coval has been on coach Wes Spence’s radar for some time, but she had to wait her turn to truly step into the spotlight because of talented point guards like Rachel Medlar who were ahead of her on the depth chart.
Medlar graduated last season and Coval took over the role full-time this season, just as Spence had envisioned her doing since he first saw her as a much younger player.
“She’s not a natural point guard, but we saw her as somebody who we thought had the intangibles to do it at a really high level for us,” said Spence. “She was in a group coming up that didn’t really have a pure point guard, but I thought she could fit that bill and Keeley has done a good job and stepped right in this year and has been tremendous.”
After starting the season with one of the tougher schedules that a team could have, the Lady Trojans took some early hits and had a very uncharacteristic 0-2 start to the season.
A trip to Florida to play against some of the better teams in the country saw Parkland take its beatings in the Sunshine State, but the team responded and got back in town just in time to down Whitehall, which would kick-start a current four-game win streak.
The erratic schedule followed by the holiday layoff could have been another stumbling block for the team, but again, the senior group responded to keep Parkland focused.
“We’ve had a couple of strong games lately, so it’s nice to be able to build off of this,” said Coval. “We had a game canceled and then played three games in three days and one right when we got back, so now we’re settling in, just trying to make the most of every game and play to our potential.”
For Coval, having a younger sister on the team means more time for the two to spend time together, which she is enjoying.
It’s possible that Coval will be outside of the Lehigh Valley starting next fall as she pursues a degree in Environmental Engineering, possibly at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.
“It’s been a lot of fun playing together,” said Coval of having her younger sister Mia as a teammate. “We’ve always played basketball and she was with the team last year and this year, so it’s worked out well.”
Spence also sees benefits to both sisters and the team.
“In the case of the Covals right now, it’s a great thing. They both bring a lot to our program individually and help a lot. Mia is a really confident, successful kid in her own right and having Keeley to talk to and sort of mentor her and model this stuff for Mia has been great.”
With the second half underway, Coval and the Lady Trojans made a statement Tuesday night with a 35-31 win over Central Catholic (5-1, 7-3).
“I think if we can get our offense together and make a run at things, we can go pretty deep into the postseason,” said Keeley Coval. “We’ve been settling in the past couple of games and I think we can use that to get into our full potential and really do what we’ve wanted to do this season.”
Spence considers Coval to be one of those players who doesn’t always get the recognition that she deserves not only on the court, but off.
Spence pointed to her academic success and the fact that she spends time volunteering in the community as achievements that she should be proud of and that other kids would do well to use as an example. On the court, Spence is elated with how Coval has developed as a player and how she runs the team.
“She runs the team the way we want it run,” he said. “She’s a pass-first kid and she looks to get other girls involved and is very unselfish. I couldn’t be happier with anything she does. I can’t say enough. I could stand here for a long time and say great things about Keeley Coval.”