The Year in Review

While some GW teams found success in 2009-2010, others will put a tough year behind them as they look to build toward next season. No GW team brought home any championship hardware in 2009-2010, although both tennis teams came within a match of winning their respective conference tournaments.

For the men’s and women’s basketball teams at GW, it was somewhat of a rebuilding year, as the two squads showed flashes of brilliance while at times struggling with youth and injuries. Still, for the first time since 2007, both teams made their conference tournaments in 2010, although neither was able to advance beyond the first round.

Here’s a roundup of some notable stories from this past year in the world of GW sports.

Men’s Basketball

After missing the conference tournament two years in a row by finishing outside the top 12 of the 14-team Atlantic 10, the Colonials returned to post-season play in 2010, earning the 10th overall seed in the A-10 tournament as well as a berth in the College Basketball Invitational.

The season opened with a bang for a young GW team that featured six freshman and three sophomores. The Colonials went 10-3 in non-conference play to begin the 2009-2010 campaign, including a double-digit home win over George Mason and a seven-point home loss to Oregon State over Thanksgiving weekend that was attended by President Barack Obama and his family.

With the increased competition of conference play came increased difficulties for the young Colonials, who went 6-10 in A-10 play and struggled at times to win close games, losing seven of their 10 A-10 games by seven points or fewer. Bright spots for the Colonials came in the form of freshman guard and A-10 All-Rookie team member Lasan Kromah, whose average of 11.8 points per game was second on the team. Senior forward Damian Hollis also found success in his final season at GW, leading the team in points and rebounds per game with 13.9 and 4.9, respectively.

The season ended on a down note for GW, which fell by 10 on the road to Dayton in the first round of the A-10 tournament. The Colonials then fell 79-73 at home to Virginia Commonwealth University in the first round of the CBI, despite a career-high 30 points from Hollis in his final game at GW.

Women’s Basketball

In their second season under GW head coach Mike Bozeman, the Colonials struggled mightily with injuries in 2009-2010, at times playing with as few as seven active players. Before the season even began, GW lost its lone upperclassman for the season when redshirt junior Ivy Abiona tore her right ACL in a pickup game, the second knee injury of Abiona’s career. Abiona was joined on the bench early in the regular season by sophomore Tara Booker, who shot 37 percent from three-point range as a freshman, and freshman Dani Jackson, who started all four games in which she played, before being sidelined. Neither Booker nor Jackson returned to the floor in 2009-2010.

In their absence, sophomores Tiana Myers and Sara Mostafa shined for the Colonials. Myers averaged a team-best 12.6 points per game in her second season at GW while playing out of position at point guard. Mostafa had a breakout season for the Colonials, averaging second on the team behind Myers with 10.1 points per game and leading her team in rebounding with 6.5 per game.

Still, the Colonials struggled throughout the season, losing six straight games at one point and seven of their last eight to close the regular season. GW nearly managed an upset in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament, pushing sixth-seeded Duquesne to overtime before falling by three. The 2009-2010 campaign was not without its successes, however, as the Colonials defeated perennial women’s basketball power Rutgers and their Hall of Fame head coach C. Vivian Stringer at home by two in late December.

Men’s Soccer

GW senior Andy Stadler was again the story for the men’s soccer team, which finished with a 4-5 record in Atlantic 10 play that left the Colonials out of the conference tournament. Stadler led the team in goals with 13, as well as shots and shots-on-goal. His 1.00 goals per game average was the best in the NCAA, and he recorded two of the A-10’s three hat tricks last season.

The senior forward was named to the A-10 All-Conference First team for the second consecutive season, and was a candidate for the Hermann Trophy, an award handed out annually to the nation’s top collegiate soccer player. Stadler finished his career at GW fourth all-time in goals scored with 35.

Returning standouts for GW will include rising sophomore and 2008 A-10 rookie of the year Yoni Berhanu, who scored four goals and led the Colonials with six assists in his second year at GW. A-10 All-Rookie team member Seth Rudolph will also be back for the Colonials, after recording four goals in his freshman season.

Baseball

While most other GW teams have wrapped up their seasons have long since wrapped up their seasons, the baseball team will continue to play through at least the next two weekends as they fight to qualify for the Atlantic 10 tournament later this month. With a conference record of 13-11, the Colonials, who currently sit fifth in the A-10 standings, must remain in the top six in the conference if they hope to advance to the postseason.

GW had a streaky start to its 2010 season, sandwiching an eight-game winning streak between a pair four-game skids to open non-conference play. The Colonials got hot again to open A-10 action, going 6-0 against in their first two conference series. GW has since cooled off but has remained competitive in A-10 action.

The offensive star for the Colonials has been senior shortstop Tom Zebroski, whose .430 average is the best in the A-10 this season. Zebroksi also etched his name into the GW record books on Saturday when he passed former Colonial Mike Bassett to as the all-time hit leader in GW history with 295.

On the mound, junior starter Eric Cantrell has been excellent for the Colonials, going 8-3 with a 3.80 ERA so far this season. Cantrell’s 106 strikeouts is also the most in the A-10.

Men’s Tennis

It was a new year for the men’s tennis team, but the same story unfolded for the Colonials in 2010 as the team once again fell in the Atlantic 10 tournament after earning the top seed for the third consecutive year. GW went 4-0 in regular season play against A-10 opponents, but dropped the conference tournament’s championship match to two-time defending champion Xavier.

Despite the team’s struggles in post-season play, four Colonials earned spots on A-10 all-conference teams. GW led the conference in first-team selections, with sophomore Ugur Atalay and juniors Eric Hannah and Chris Kushma all earning first-team honors. Junior Yan Levinski was named to the second team.

It is the second straight year that all four Colonials have been named to the A-10 all-conference teams. Both Levinski and Atalay were given first-team honors after the 2009 season, while Kushma and Hannah made the all A-10 second team. Hannah and Levinski were also honored after their freshman season in 2008, when they were both named to the all A-10 second team.

Women’s Tennis

After her team’s win in its home finale against Towson, the GW women’s tennis team’s lone senior, Michele Style predicted her team would “definitely” win the Atlantic 10 tournament. Despite a hot-and-cold season that left the Colonials seeded fifth in the conference tournament, GW almost proved Style right, making an improbable run to the conference championship before losing to defending champion Richmond in the final match.

As a result of her team’s surprising run to its first A-10 championship match since 1997, GW head coach Dawn Buth was named coach of the year by the conference, making her the first women’s tennis coach to win the award in over 15 years.

The Colonials were led by sophomore Jacqueline Corba, who went 17-4 in 2010 playing in the first singles position for GW. Corba, an all A-10 first-team selection, closed the season on a seven match winning streak that included a decisive victory at No. one singles over Charlotte to push the Colonials into the championship match. Joining Corba on the first team was freshman Mimi Hamling, who went 11-10 at the No. two singles position and 13-7 at No. one doubles in her first season with the Colonials. Hamling’s fellow freshman, Dorota Lysienia, was named to the all A-10 second team.

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