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The Campus

The student news site of Allegheny College

The Campus

The student news site of Allegheny College

The Campus

More than a game

Allegheny’s Lauer and Santicola represent Team USA in Brazil during the offseason

There is an old saying that states, “sports are more than just a game.” While athletes compete against each other and battle on their respective fields for bragging rights, titles and sometimes money, other times it can open the door for life-changing opportunities.Emily Lauer, ’25, has been a standout player for the Allegheny Gators women’s basketball team throughout her tenure. The junior point guard set the fourth-most single-season points in school history last year with 479. This campaign, she is currently fourth in scoring throughout the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.

Lauer was able to put a lot of time into her craft during the midst of the offseason, a portion of it coming in Brazil when she represented Team USA for Division III basketball. Competing against former professional and Olympic players in South America, Lauer was grateful to be a part of the unique experience.

“Every opportunity that comes up, every opportunity I’ve done, God has had a part in that,” Lauer said. “Being able to put that into perspective is insane. God literally took me to Brazil to play basketball.”

The window to sign up arose when Allegheny Head Coach Kelly Muffley sent Lauer an email with an invitation to take the trip. At first, Lauer thought Muffley was sending her spam. But, after confirming its validity, consulting former Assistant Coach Jess Vormelker and praying immensely, she decided to go.

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She was not the only Gator to attend the trip. Sarah Santicola, ’26, also embarked on the 4,200-plus mile journey southwest. Aside from competing, the two — and other members of Team USA — worked camps with poor kids of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, teaching them drills and scrimmaging them in a fun and vying atmosphere. Donations were also accepted, where players could give away shirts and shoes to help make a difference in the community.

“It was such a gratifying thing to be able to do,” Santicola said. “There were people on the streets living in houses with three walls and no windows. But the kids would rush to the stadium for the games… ask for autographs, ask for our jerseys and think we were the coolest thing ever. I’m just like ‘Wow I’m a nobody. I’m just a DIII basketball player.’ Being able to do that for them was awesome.”

Working with the kids of Brazil was the best part of the trip, according to Santicola and Lauer. Both were ecstatic to participate in the events and getting the chance to experience another culture is something neither of them will forget.

The competition featured four games during their time in Brazil. Team USA consisted of nine women, representing areas all across the country.
The opposing team included multiple players over 6 feet tall as well as some women who had daughters playing with them on the hardwood. Regardless of age, their abilities proved they were still in great shape, and they gave Team USA a run for their money.

Although the Americans only won one game, both Lauer and Santicola picked up a lot of skills to help them on the court this year during collegiate play, and it is already seeming to pay off. Along with Lauer being a great scorer, Santicola is right behind her in the conference at eighth in points per game. The sophomore center also began the year with four straight double-doubles, and has been playing her best basketball.

“She’s very focused,” Muffley said about Santicola. “I’ve never seen her this focused. She wants to win.”

Despite the Gators starting the season with a 2-7 record, Lauer and Santicola are expected to be big providers for the team. With lots of play left in the regular season, everyone on the Gators team believes they can turn things around and be a top contender in the PAC.

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About the Contributor
Kyle Chandler
Kyle Chandler, Sports Editor
Kyle Chandler is a former collegiate athlete. After being a member of the Allegheny baseball team,  Kyle still loves to be around the game and has picked up sports journalism and broadcasting as a profession. He is the play-by-play broadcaster for Allegheny sports. He recently completed an internship as the radio play-by-play broadcaster with the Lake Erie Crushers. Following in the family footsteps, Kyle is the grandson of the late Nev Chandler, who broadcasted for the Cleveland Browns, then Indians and Cavaliers, and has inspired the kid to get into the business. Although Nev has passed away, Kyle's cousin, John Chandler, who is a sports anchor at NBC New York, has taken him under his wing to show him the works. Kyle aspires to become a sports play-by-play broadcaster and is looking for a job in the Minor Leagues upon graduating college.
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