Volleyball Takes the Court in 2005 With Veteran Squad
Aug. 2, 2005
The 2005 season figures to be a bounce-back year for the Colonials after a down year in 2004. "We return one of the deepest and most experienced teams since I've been at GW," said head coach Jojit Coronel during the summer. "However, our success is dependent on a unified and committed team effort to establish clear and realistic goals, be selfless, be considerate of one another, communicate with one another and to establish an incredible `gym culture.'
Leading the way will be four outstanding seniors whose last appearance in an Atlantic 10 Conference Championship match was in 2002, their freshmen year. "I'm sure that they'd love to cap off their collegiate careers with not only the 2005 Atlantic 10 Championship but also a trip to the 2005 NCAA Tournament," Coronel added.
GW welcomes back five starters (plus the starting libero), including All-Conference performers Shannon Parks and the 2002 A-10 Rookie of the Year, Lindsey Vernand. Sophomore Janine Brown returns to pick up where she left off after an outstanding rookie season. Juniors Kelly Kabbes, Juliene McLaughlin and setter Kaimana Lee all return with another year of experience led by senior captain Jessica Vesey as the Colonials have matured into a more veteran team for 2005.
The Players _________________
The 2005 Colonials will rely on the leadership of Vesey at the libero position. Vesey, the team's first-ever libero, appeared in 108 games last season and recorded a team-high 462 digs while leading the Colonials with 28 service aces. "Jessica Vesey is the foundation of our ball control," said Coronel. "As captain, she will be looked upon to set an example on and off the court."
"Shannon Parks is one of our bookends on the rightside," said Coronel. "Having moved into a new position towards the end of last fall, Shannon adjusted and excelled at that position in the spring. Her attacking, blocking and overall experience and maturity make us a better offensive and defensive team."
Vernand is the other bookend on the left side. She is a tremendous blocker and brings veteran experience to a position which requires a `go after it' attitude. Vernand, the A-10 Rookie of the Year in 2002, brings the type of arm swing the Colonials will need to offset the graduation losses of Molly Law and Katie Downey.
Every successful team needs a steady setter and junior Kaimana Lee is ready to thrive in that role. Lee appeared in 112 of GW's 114 games as the team's primary setter last season. The Hawai'i native tallied 1,136 assists (10.14 apg), the 11th highest single-season total in school history.
They will have plenty of help from juniors Kelly Kabbes and Canadian Juliene McLaughlin. Both are hard hitters with impressive vertical jumping ability who were the offensive leaders as sophomores last season. McLaughlin led the team in kills with 360 while Kabbes' 85 blocks led the Colonials. The combination of Brown, Vernand, Abigail Hatter, Kabbes, Parks and McLaughlin give the Colonials six potent offensive options. The 6-foot-3 Hatter provides a formidable blocking presence in the middle who will give opponents trouble. Hatter's .248 hitting percentage was second only to Kabbes' .270 in 2004. Brown made a significant contribution as a freshman last year (173 kills, 200 digs) and figures to continue making strides for GW.
Junior Abigail Greenleaf (23 games, 20 kills, 24 digs) and sophomores Jessica Buche, Brittney Retzinger and Erica Williams round out the returnees. Buche who assisted on 84 kills and was the back-up setter in 2004, will play a significant role in the Colonials' new offensive system. Similarly, Greenleaf, who had a tremendous Spring at the right side, will also play a pivotal role in the new offense. Retzinger, who suffered a knee injury prior to arriving at GW, will make her collegiate debut as a redshirt freshman this season. Williams, whose athletic ability remains limitless, returns as a much-needed spark off the bench.
The team welcomes four newcomers in 2005. The class of 2009 consists of California native Jennie Leftwich, Katelin Karlin (Lawrence, Kansas), Liz Moult from Pennsylvania and libero Maggie Wright from New York state.
The Schedule ___________
Coronel has built a challenging schedule for 2005 that includes six matches against opponents who competed in the 2004 NCAA Tournament as well as a trio of non-conference tournaments beginning with the GW Invitational, Sept. 2-3, at Charles E. Smith Athletic Center. Following the GW Invitational, the Colonials travel to Atlanta to compete in the Georgia Tech Invitational followed by the Bearcat Invitational hosted by Cincinnati. "Every season seems to be even more challenging than the last. With the addition of Saint Louis and Charlotte, and with only four teams able to qualify for our conference tournament, competition will be fierce," Coronel said. Our preseason non-conference schedule will provide us with an indication of what types of players we have and how we, as a team, are developing."
The Colonials will open conference play at Xavier. With the addition of new members Charlotte and Saint Louis, GW will face defending conference champion Dayton only once this season, however, that match will take place on the road a day after the Xavier match. Saint Louis makes its first-ever visit to Smith Center Oct. 7 while Charlotte comes to Washington on Oct. 22. The 57th renewal of the crosstown rivalry with Georgetown will take place on Oct. 18 at GU's McDonough Gym. American provides the opposition on "Senior Night" for GW's four graduating seniors, followed by the A-10 Championship which will be hosted by Rhode Island at Keaney Gym. The A-10's top four teams will advance to the Atlantic 10 championship tournament Nov. 18-19, where an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament will be at stake.