Dedicated to late coach, volleyball opens season

This weekend marks the start of a promising season for the GW Women’s Volleyball team as the Colonials will compete in four matches this weekend at the Smith Center. Still recovering from the death of their coach and mentor, Yvette Moorehead, team members said they are playing the season in her memory.

Senior leadership is the key factor in the success of this year’s team. Five senior veterans – Jill Levey, Suzana Manole, Julie Jahnke, Tracee Brown and Renee Arnold – will lead GW into Friday’s openers against Wagner and Howard universities in the Navy/GW Chesapeake Invitational. The Colonials will face Wagner at 1 p.m. and will face Howard at 7 p.m. The Colonials will hit the court again Saturday against Robert Morris and Manhattan colleges.

Setter Jill Levey, who battled a foot injury late last season, is healthy and enters the season ranked third on GW’s all-time assists list with 2,704.

Jill Levey is a natural leader and a hard worker, interim coach Jojit Coronel said. She is savvy and she knows how to run the offense on the court.

Manole comes back stronger than ever this season having worked on her skills at a summer volleyball training camp in Minnesota. Manole is a great competitor who has played in all but one game in her college career.

Suzana is an `in your face’ type of player, Coronel said. She is not afraid of anything out on the court.

Arnold is GW’s top outside hitter who pounded 238 kills in only 80 games last season.

Rene has come back more fearless than ever. Coronel said. She will take on the role as our number one attacker.

The Colonials added six talented freshmen and welcome back senior Adrianna Gucciardi, junior Shannon Farley and sophomore Abby Ernst. GW’s depth could make the Colonials the team to beat in the Atlantic 10. In preparation for this weekend, the seniors and the freshmen scrimmaged against each other.

The seniors have taken on a leadership role, Coronel said. They have helped groom the freshmen, and now the freshmen are pushing the seniors. The whole atmosphere is competitive.

Ruth Lazzari has demonstrated the speed and coordination to be a strong outside hitter. Lazzari, 5-10, and fellow freshman Sarah Hokum have the potential to be explosive players Coronel said.

Ruth has great ball skills and an incredible court awareness, Coronel said. Sara is a raw hitter and takes the first step as an attacker.

The Colonials said they have a team motto, which they refer to as the three P’s: play together, play smart and play with effort.

Both Yvette (Moorehead) and I had the opportunity to initiate team goals for the upcoming season, Coronel said. The girls made a commitment to play the season and I want to make them as successful as they can be.

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