Holy Cross senior guard leads on court and in classroom


By Steve Svetovich

Senior point guard Alyssa Alfano is an unsung hero as the Holy Cross Lady Crusaders at press time have won 14 of the first 15 basketball games.

At press time, Alyssa, daughter of Sherri Alfano and the late Tony Alfano,  is seventh with a 13 points per game scoring average in Lackawanna League Division III. Her teammates, Abby Anderson and Lexi Walsh, average 16.7 and 12.8 points per game, respectively, giving the team a potent 1-2-3 punch.

And Alyssa leads the Lackawanna League Division III at press time with a spectacular .923 free throw percentage.

A team player all the way, Alyssa also averages 3.5 assists per game as the floor leader.

Her younger sister, Amanda, is a sophomore member of the Lady Crusaders basketball team coached by veteran Barry Fitzgerald.

Alyssa, 18, has played AAU travel basketball since she was in the fifth grade. Last summer she played for JV Hoops. She was an all-tournament selection last summer while helping a team comprised of mostly Holy Cross players win the 2015 Luzerne-Lackawanna Challenge sponsored by Januzzi’s Pizza.

Alyssa is a four-year member of the Holy Cross Lady Crusaders basketball team. She played with a fractured finger for the second half of her sophomore season. She also had an ankle injury during her junior year that kept her out of the first five games.A member of the softball team as a sophomore, she is a member of the Service Club, Foreign Languages Club and Student Council. Her favorite subject is Latin.

Very polite and humble, Alyssa also believes in giving back to the community. She received the Presidential Service Award for over 100 hours of community service work. She also received a Service Award for Habitat for Humanity.

Alyssa helped the Lady Crusaders win the James Akens Memorial Tournament at North Pocono High School. Holy Cross defeated North Pocono in the title game. Alyssa was named to the all-tournament team. Teammate Abby Anderson was MVP in the tournament.

Alyssa, small in stature but very quick, is an honor student with a 3.3 grade point average. She hopes to play basketball and study athletic training in college.

alfano1At press time, she has scored over 700 points in her varsity basketball career at Holy Cross. She talked about what it takes to excel at the point guard position. “You have to handle the ball well and know how to distribute the ball,” she said.

Alyssa said she learned a lot from coach Fitzgerald.  “He teaches me to communicate well with the other players on the team, so we can all be on the same page.”

Her mom, a school teacher, has been a big influence on her game and academic success. “She always tells me if you don’t keep trying, then you won’t succeed.”

Her grandparents, Hank and Joan Gerrity, are very close to Alyssa and come to every basketball game. “They always teach me about dedication,” she said.

Alyssa was also close to her late grandparents, Philomena Alfano and Tony Alfano Sr.

Alyssa’s late dad, Tony, a dedicated father and husband, died when she was 10. But he was a constant support and his steady influence is always there. “He told me you have to love what you do and be happy doing it.”

Alyssa, who scored a season high 19 points against Carbondale, said she enjoys running in her spare time and studied dance for several years. She enjoys music and would like to see Taylor Swift in concert.

She talked about her goals. “Well, right now I want to help my team win the league and district titles. I would like to play basketball in college and eventually have a career in athletic training.”

Alyssa, always dedicated and team oriented, said she has enjoyed her four years at Holy Cross as she nears graduation. “Holy Cross is like one great community. The kids reach out to help each other. We are all very close. The teachers and administration do anything they can to help you.”

And with Alyssa’s efficient passing, scoring and ball handling, the team remains confident with her at the point guard for the rest of her senior season.


Marywood president announces retirement


Photo Credit: Marywood.edu

Sister Anne Munley, IHM, Ph.D., has announced her plans to retire after she completes her ninth year as President of Marywood University in June 2016. During her presidency, Marywood celebrated its Centennial, opened the region’s first and only School of Architecture, celebrated the largest graduating classes in the university’s history, and witnessed a renewal of the legacy of its founding —the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In her letter to the university community today, Sister Anne stated that, “After deep thought, reflection, and prayer, I have decided that this will be the final academic year in which I will serve as President of Marywood University. I have informed the Board of Trustees that I will be retiring as President, effective June 30, 2016.”

Since 2007, when she was inaugurated as the eleventh president of the Catholic university in Scranton, PA, Sister Anne has led Marywood through its highest enrollment growth, expansion of its business program to become the School of Business and Global Innovation, and philanthropic support leading to a Centennial year in 2015 that included the completion of the largest expansion project in the university’s history.

“Sister Anne has been an outstanding leader and visionary for Marywood University,” said Ann R. Henry, Ph.D., Chair of the Marywood University Board of Trustees and an alumna of the university. “Our entire Marywood community is grateful for her guidance, her commitment to our students, and her passion for education in the Marywood IHM tradition.”

Just two years after her inauguration, Sister Anne oversaw, in 2009, the opening of the region’s first and only School of Architecture.  On September 8, 2015, Marywood celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding by dedicating two multi-million dollar facilities, the $40 million Learning Commons, as well as the Morgan Motherhouse Memorial Garden on the site of the first building of the newly formed college in 1915.  The Learning Commons includes a Center for Communication Arts with the most advanced technology in the region for television, radio, animation, and sound recording and news production.

According to Board Chair Ann Henry, “The Board of Trustees will be announcing in early February the plans for a comprehensive national search to recruit and select the successor to Sister Anne.”