Volleyball To Christen Newly-Renovated Smith Center in '09
July 13, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC -- The 2009 George Washington volleyball schedule features four matches against teams that appeared in the 2008 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament, including a road match against defending A-10 champion Saint Louis on Oct. 9. The volleyball team also will have the honor of hosting the first official competition in the newly-renovated Smith Center's main arena on Oct. 2.
The Colonials will spend the first month of the season on the road to allow for the completion of the newly-renovated Charles E. Smith Center. GW's home opener will be delayed until Friday, Oct. 2 against Rhode Island as part of Alumni Weekend. The second phase of the three-year, three-phase renovation is scheduled to be complete by the time the Colonials take the court on Oct. 2. The main arena will feature a new hardwood playing surface and new chair-back seating on the north side of the arena as well as upgraded lighting among the many improvements.
The Colonials also will face `08 NCAA Tournament entries Iowa State of the Big 12 and A-10 foe Dayton. GW opens the season on Aug. 28 in the first of four regular-season tournaments beginning with the DC Challenge. The Colonials will face Georgetown at George Mason University Aug. 28 before playing a doubleheader on Aug. 29 at American's Bender Arena against the Eagles and George Mason.
The Colonials then take part in the Diet Coke Classic at the University of Minnesota, Sept. 4-5, in Minneapolis where they will play Auburn, Iowa State and the host Golden Gophers. "It's one of the toughest schedules we've had since I've been here," said 10th-year head coach Jojit Coronel. "We'll face two Top-25 teams from a year ago in ISU and Minnesota and an SEC team in Auburn. That level of competition should go a long way in preparing us for A-10 Conference play. It's also nice to give our players an opportunity to play in front of family and friends, as Abby [Syverson] will have at the Minnesota tournament."
That tournament will be followed by the Villanova Invitational Sept. 11-12 in Philadelphia where the Colonials play Princeton, UMBC and the host Wildcats of Villanova. The season's fourth tournament will take place at Towson University in an event that includes Ball State, Penn and the host Tigers. `Alumni Weekend' will be held Oct. 2-3 in conjunction with the home opener.
`Parents Weekend' will feature key A-10 Conference matches against Xavier and Dayton. The Oct. 30 Temple match will serve as the `Dig Pink' match to help raise funds for the fight against breast cancer.
In 2009, the Atlantic 10 Conference will undergo a format change whereby all 10 teams will compete in one division as opposed to the East / West alignment of previous years. Each team will play 15 conference matches with six round-robin opponents and three single matches against the remaining A-10 schools. The six opponents GW will face both home and away in 2009 are Dayton, Duquesne, Charlotte, Rhode Island, Temple and Xavier. The Colonials will play La Salle and defending champion Saint Louis on the road while hosting Fordham at Smith Center.
The three-day Atlantic 10 Conference championship will take place Nov. 20-22 at Dayton's Frericks Center featuring the league's top six teams as determined by winning percentage. "Our league schedule will be even tougher this season as we play perennial powerhouses Dayton and Xavier twice," Coronel added. "This should improve our RPI and, hopefully, get a minimum of three teams into the NCAA Tournament."
Coronel welcomes back senior Abby Syverson (Minneapolis, MN), who was an A-10 All-Rookie Team selection in 2006 and 2008 A-10 Rookie of the Year, Alyssa Valentine (Tustin, CA) as well as All-Conference second-team selection Leah Hill (Ontario, NY). GW concluded the 2008 season with a 19-11 overall record, 9-4 in the Atlantic 10 Conference and qualified for the A-10 Championship tournament for the second straight year.
"We have a wonderful group of returnees and an outstanding recruiting class this year," Coronel said. "We look forward to getting back to the A-10 Championship and surpassing our success from last year."
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