After more than a year without competition, volleyball will open its 2020-21 season Friday.
The Atlantic 10 delayed fall sports’ seasons to the spring semester amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Volleyball, who normally plays from August through November, will now compete from January through April.
The A-10 will institute a pod system for conference play this year that is split by geographic location. GW will be in a pod with Fordham, George Mason, La Salle and Rhode Island, while Dayton, Davidson, Duquesne, VCU and Saint Louis will comprise the other pod.
Normally, the team would play about 30 games, including 14 conference matchups and a few tournaments in nonconference play. But this season, the Colonials will play 11 conference games with five nonconference matchups sprinkled throughout the schedule.
GW opens its slate with back-to-back nonconference road games against Morgan State and Delaware State Friday and Saturday, respectively. The team will then head to George Mason to open conference play with consecutive games against the Patriots Feb. 6 and 7.
Feb. 9, the team will take on Howard to start a four-game homestand that includes battles with VCU and two contests against La Salle. A trip to Rhode Island Feb. 27 and another home game against Fordham March 5 will lead into a three-game road trip for the backend of home-and-home series with Howard, Fordham and La Salle.
The Colonials will close out the regular season on a three-game homestand, taking on West Virginia, Rhode Island and George Mason.
GW will see the Patriots and Explorers three times and Fordham, Rhode Island and Howard twice.
The A-10 tournament is slated for April 2 and 3. The Championship will feature four teams – the top team from each pod and the next two teams with the best records, regardless of pod affiliation. The team with the top seed will play host to the competition.
The Colonials were tabbed to finish fourth in the A-10’s preseason poll, receiving 64 points. GW trails No. 1 Dayton (98), No. 2 VCU (87) and No. 3 Saint Louis (84), but the squad has the highest preseason rank among its pod members.
Rhode Island, La Salle, Fordham and George Mason placed No. 7, No. 8, No. 9 and No. 10, respectively.
The Colonials will return nine members of its 15-person roster from 2019. The squad added a trio of freshmen and two transfers to bolster its 2020 squad. In a September interview, head coach Sarah Bernson said she did not have her full team on campus for the fall semester, but all student-athletes were keeping up with training and practice while they awaited a return to play.
GW’s first matchup against Morgan State Friday will begin at 5 p.m.