Notre Dame athletes get D-I, D-II offers
By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – The Notre Dame Academy girls’ basketball team recently won its third consecutive WIAA Division 2 state title in March at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
In order for the team to accomplish that feat, it has relied on veteran leadership and young talent.
Two important cogs in the Tritons’ historic run — junior Sydney Whitehouse and sophomore Peyton Musial — have more recently been getting noticed in the collegiate recruitment process.
In the last week, Musial picked up her sixth Division I (D-I) offer, while Whitehouse earned a Division II (D-2) offer.
The duo joins juniors Gracie Grzesk (Wisconsin) and Trista Fayta (Illinois State) as high, collegiate-level recruits.
After averaging 8.6 points per game as a freshman, Musial followed that up with 11.4 points per contest this season.
Because of her strong play, the 5-foot-11 guard now has Division I offers from Bradley, Colgate, Evansville, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota and Toledo.
“I feel the recruiting process is going well,” Musial said. “With us just completing our (high school) season and now me moving into AAU (Amateur Athletic Union), it’s picked up again. I do enjoy the process – I like getting to know about different programs and coaches.”
Musial’s first Division I offer came from Toledo in July of 2022.
“Because each college has personally reached out to me, I think it’ll be hard to say no to any one of them,” Musial said. “I’ve been building relationships for a long time, but once I find the right place, I’ll be happy.”
Musial, who might study dentistry in college, said she’s changed her mind on when she’ll likely commit.
“Initially, I thought this fall I’d make a decision,” she said. “After I’ve thought about it more, I don’t want to put a timeline on it — I want to go on more visits this summer and fall. It’ll give me a better idea of where I’m at. Personally, I don’t think I’m ready to commit yet. I also don’t want to commit to a program without knowing more about them – coaches move around quite a bit.”
Musial said Notre Dame’s recent success also helps.
“When I talk to coaches, they all say, ‘I want players who know how to win and come from a winning program,’” she said. “There might be some really good players out there, but they don’t come from winning programs or don’t play with many good players on their team – I don’t have that problem. I’m grateful to play with and against some great players who help me get better.”
Musial said Notre Dame coach Sara Rohde is also a good mentor for her.
“I love playing for Coach Rohde,” she said. “Lots of people think she’s so intense — and she is – but she cares for all of us and has a funny side. She knows when to push us. She has great skills and expertise.”
Despite receiving multiple Division I offers, Musial said that doesn’t mean she’s perfect in her game.
“I have to get stronger, more athletic and quicker,” she said. “I need to feel more confident, too. I spend so many hours in the gym, but if I get to a game and don’t actually shoot the ball, what are all those hours going toward?”
Like Musial, Whitehouse, who also plans to study dentistry, has been a fixture in the Tritons’ lineup for the last two seasons.
She averaged 8.2 points per contest during her sophomore season and 10.2 as a junior.
She also saw limited time as a freshman.
Unlike Musial, Whitehouse’s recruiting process is just beginning.
She recently received an offer from Truman State, a Division II school in Kirksville, Missouri.
“That’s been my first and only offer thus far,” the 5-foot-7 guard said. “It was after a recent AAU game. I was about to leave the facility, and (Truman State) Coach Theo (Dean) tapped me on the shoulder and wanted to talk with me. He said, ‘Syd, we’d like to offer you a scholarship.’ I was at a loss for words — I didn’t expect that.”
Whitehouse said she doesn’t know where the recruiting process will take her, but she’s going to enjoy it.
“I can’t tell you for sure,” she said. “I’ll be blessed with whatever offers I get, but I’m not guaranteed anything. I have to keep working hard to prove myself.”
Whitehouse also said she hopes Notre Dame’s success – three state titles in her three years on the team – will also help her recruitment.
“It can’t hurt,” she laughed. “Because we are so successful as a team, lots of people — including coaches — want to see us play.”
Whitehouse said she’s “extremely lucky to have Coach Rohde as her coach.”
“Coach really has a soft heart behind her coaching,” she said. “I enjoy her being my coach because she knows our potential and what we’re capable of.”
When asked when she thought she’d make a decision on her college choice, Whitehouse had a quick response.
“No,” she laughed. “I really haven’t put much thought into that — I think I’ll know when it’s time.”
Whitehouse, who has scored 577 career high school points, also said she has plenty to work on.
“My defense is my strong point, so I’d like to grow my offensive game,” she said. “I want to be more confident with the ball and keep encouraging my teammates — which I feel I’m already doing.”
The Tritons will be going for a state-record four consecutive titles next season; something Whitehouse said makes her excited.
“I think we’ll be under lots of pressure and stress to win another one — there are some nerves there,” she said. “But, we’ve experienced it before, multiple times. Nothing will be handed to us, and teams will want to beat us even more. We have to finish strong, and hopefully, we can win a fourth.”
According to the WIAA website (wiaawi.org), five other Wisconsin girls’ high school basketball teams have won three consecutive titles: Beaver Dam (2017-19), Cuba City (2005-07), Flambeau (2006-08), Milwaukee Vincent (2007-09) and Milwaukee Washington (1994-96).