On a team looking for veteran leadership and shooters in a revamped, fast-tempo offense, Victoria Cardaci fits the mold perfectly for Seton Hall.
The Holmdel, N.J., native and Clemson transfer is using her final year of eligibility in South Orange after sitting out last year due to NCAA rules.
“I chose to come to Seton Hall for the coaching staff. I felt like the staff really believed in me and wanted to develop me not only as a player but as a person for my future,” Cardaci said. “I think it was important for me to come back close to home and be with the program that brings players back home and really harps on family and that type of atmosphere.”
For head coach Tony Bozzella, Cardaci brings a hard-nosed, no-nonsense attitude to the Pirates.
“I have known Victoria for not even a year and she’s already one of my favorite, favorite people,” Bozzella said. “She comes to work every day. She tries hard. She’s committed to one thing and one thing only – winning. You can tell how well she’s been raised by her parents. She’s respectful and she’s successful because of how she was raised on hard work, no excuses, do your best.”
It was the opportunity to play in front of that family that helped land Cardaci at Seton Hall.
“I’m happy that my family gets to watch me play,” Cardaci said. “I’m close to my brothers and my parents and just being around a hometown crowd is huge. It means everything to me.”
Cardaci, a four-year starter at Holmdel High School, has embraced her new leadership role at Seton Hall.
“I think I can bring leadership. I want to make sure that I’m vocal both on and off the court,” Cardaci said. “I want to lead by example and I want to make sure I’m bringing out the best in the people I’m out on the court with.”
As a unit, the Pirates are looking to play an up-tempo brand of basketball this season, making fast breaks and three-pointers a major point of emphasis. In her three years at Clemson, Cardaci knocked down 109 threes, something Bozzella would certainly like to see carry over this season.
“Our pace is so much quicker this year and we’re going to shoot a lot of three-pointers. She’s one of our keys, she’s got to get her feet set and be there,” Bozzella said. “When we heard she was available we were really excited to have that opportunity.
In the exhibition game against Jefferson University, Cardaci led the Pirates with 20 points on six three-pointers in a high scoring, 95-81 victory. She continued her shooting in Seton Hall’s season-opening win over Wagner, tying the single-game program record for three-pointers made with seven.
With her final season set to get underway, Cardaci knows she is ready to give her all for her last go around.
“I want to leave everything out on the court. I really want to do everything I can to help the team win,” Cardaci said. “Ultimately, I just want to have a great last year, have a fun time and experience new things with my new teammates.”
Nick Santoriello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NickSantoriello.