Freshmen begin season with sense of great loss

The GW community and volleyball team remain shocked and deeply saddened by the death of friend and coach Yvette Moorehead. The news has been equally painful for the volleyball team’s six newcomers. Sitting outside the Smith Center Saturday, they said they’ve looked to one another for comfort and support.

We spend all of our off-days together, freshman Lindsay Ochs said

Lauren Dunning and Ochs are two of the six newcomers on the 2000 team. Ochs described Moorehead as a second mom to the team and said Moorehead was one of the main reasons why she came to GW. Dunning added that Moorehead wanted each of her players to have a great college experience and a great life.

She was an exceptional coach, Dunning said. She cared about more than just our volleyball skills and our doing well on the court.

Moorehead recruited all of the team’s new players and was in constant contact with the freshmen during the summer through phone calls and e-mails. They said she was a motivator and tried her best to ease their anxieties about college.

She wanted you to live your life here at GW to the fullest, Dunning said. She would always ask us about school, life, and our family.

Freshman Mandy Mereness from Fontana, Wis., described Moorehead as an intense, but laid back coach.

I’ll miss her presence on the court, Mereness said.

Laura Harrison, Sarah Hokum and Ruth Lazzari join Dunning, Ochs and Mereness as the new freshman joining the squad. The players were recruited from California, Oregon, Idaho and Wisconsin.

The freshmen said they came to GW with the confidence that Moorehead would be a good coach and mentor for the next four years. They said they find themselves faced with an extraordinarily difficult task of overcoming the death of a coach.

One freshman said she was jealous of the seniors because they had the opportunity to play under Coach Moorehead.

All the freshmen said they’ve been in close contact with their parents over the past week. Mereness’ parents flew back to be with their daughter when they heard about the news.

With the start of the season days away, the freshmen women said they will honor Moorehead’s memory throughout the season.

We are going to dedicate the whole season to her, Ochs said. She gave us a gift, an opportunity to play here. She is the reason that we are all here.

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