Season Starts for Fall Sports

Soccer, volleyball, water polo and cross country teams ready to compete.

series of GW sports in action, including soccer, cross country, water polo and volleyball
August 23, 2010

GW student-athletes will be running, kicking, spiking, splashing and shooting goals this fall.

With the start of classes next week comes the beginning of the Colonials’ sports season, and five teams are gearing up to compete on the field, court and in the pool.

Women’s Soccer
The George Washington women’s soccer team heads back to the field after its most successful season since 2003--a seventh place finish in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Seven newcomers join 21 returning players this season and have their sights set on the Atlantic 10 championship.

“The 2009 class added energy, talent and experience to our lineup,” says head coach Tanya Vogel, who is starting her 11th season at GW. “Additionally, the strength and maturity of our veterans allowed our team to grow together and become stronger.”

Junior Sierra Smidinger and graduate student Cara Cadigan will be part of the scoring attack, while sophomore Samantha Cloutier, who is coming off of an outstanding freshman season, will anchor the defense.

Colonials women’s soccer opens its season at Georgetown on Aug. 27 and hosts UMBC in its home opener at Mount Vernon on Sept. 3. Conference play begins in October.

Men’s Soccer
The George Washington men’s soccer team capped the first decade of the new millennium with 10 wins. It was the 13th time the team has finished its season with a double-digit victory in the program’s 45-year history.

In the past 10 years, the Colonials laid claim to a pair of Atlantic 10 Championships and made two trips to the NCAA Tournament. Entering his 23rd season at GW, head coach George Lidster will rely on 13 returning players and 11 newcomers as the Colonials seek out similar success this season.

Despite losing 11 seniors from last season’s squad, a core group of starters at key positions return, including Brice Carr, Kory Trott, Marcus Ranney and Yoni Berhanu. The quartet will lead an otherwise youthful roster that includes 14 underclassmen.

GW will face three NCAA Tournament teams as part of its 18-match regular season in 2010. Lidster will visit his former Washington Stars teammate, John Kerr, and the Duke Blue Devils on Sept. 14 in the Colonials’ marquee non-conference match.

A-10 play will include back-to-back matches against NCAA participants Charlotte (Oct. 15) and Saint Louis (Oct. 17).

The Colonials begin the season with five away games, starting with the 10th annual D.C. College Cup at American University’s Reeves Athletic Complex.

GW opens against George Mason on Sept. 1, then battles Howard on Sept. 4. The Colonials face defending Big South Conference regular season champion Coastal Carolina on Sept. 17. Conference play starts at Richmond on Sept. 9.

Men’s Water Polo
A young men’s water polo team dives into its new season this fall. Senior center Peter Thomas will be the team’s lone upperclassmen as head coach Scott Reed looks to rebuild a squad that lost seven key players.

Despite the young lineup, Reed believes his strong six-player recruiting class and the experience of sophomores Cameron Illes, Guy Helman and John Paul Bezerra will aid his team in its quest to qualify for the program’s seventh Eastern Championship.

“With such an inexperienced roster, we will have our ups and downs throughout the season,” says Reed, who is in his 12th season at GW and was inducted into the Rhode Island Aquatic Hall of Fame in March.

“However, our goal is to learn from the regular season experiences and prepare for the championship season,” he says.

The season begins at the Navy Open in Annapolis on Sept. 4, and the Colonials’ first home game in the Charles E. Smith Center is Sept. 25 against Bucknell.

Volleyball
GW volleyball features new faces both on the court and on the sidelines. The Colonials return nine players — including four starters — from a 2009 squad that qualified for the A-10 Conference Tournament for the third straight year. Seven newcomers as well as a pair of new staff members are joining the team.

“This is really an entirely new team,” head coach Jojit Coronel says. “We have a great nucleus of players returning from last season who will serve as leaders, mentors and examples to our newcomers.”

This year’s returning veterans, led by co-captains Leah Hill and Katie Zulandt, are determined to build on their success from last season to win the A-10 Championship and earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Joining Coronel on the sidelines are Ahen Kim, a former assistant at Catholic University and local club coach, and former American University All-American Rubena Sukaj.

“Kim’s passion and knowledge of the game will help us immediately,” Coronel says. “He will be working with our outside hitters and defensive players.”

The Colonials return A-10 All-Rookie team performer Candace Silva-Martin, along with sophomore Christie Graf. Silva-Martin led the A-10 in assists per set last season, while Graf is the traveling defensive specialist.

Non-conference play begins for the fifth straight year in the D.C. Challenge, Aug. 27-28, against local rivals Georgetown, American and George Mason.

GW then competes in three tournaments at Virginia, Cleveland State and at defending national champion Penn State.

The Colonials open A-10 play Sept. 25 at home against Charlotte.

Men’s Cross Country
The George Washington University men’s cross country team hopes to make strides in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings with a combination of returning runners and talented newcomers. Head coach Brian Beil has added four freshmen and one transfer student to a group of four veterans.

Senior Zach Borenstein, who battled back from injury to start every meet in 2009, is expected to be the top runner for the Colonials this season. With two top-30 finishes last fall, he is expected to be in contention for A-10 All-Conference accolades this season.

Newcomer David McCutcheon, a sophomore transfer from Cal Poly, is projected to be a major contributor in his first season at GW. His 5,000-meter personal best of 14:37 ranks as the fastest on the team.

The men’s cross country season begins Sept. 3 with the 5K Duals at Mount St. Mary’s.

Women’s Cross Country
With the return of NCAA All-American Megan Hogan and Atlantic 10 All-Conference performer Jessica Stern, the GW women’s cross country team is poised to raise the bar in 2010. Head coach Brian Beil returns five other athletes and welcomes a pair of new runners with the goal of improving last season’s eighth-place finish at the A-10 Championships.

Hogan followed up her record-setting debut season in 2008 by capturing the program’s first-ever A-10 individual title last fall, outpacing the field by nearly a minute. She followed with an 11th place finish at NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals and 27th at the NCAA National Championships to earn All-American honors. Hogan’s dominance carried over to the spring schedule, where she placed fifth in the 10,000-meter run at the Stanford Invitational and qualified for the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

In a USATF field full of professional and top collegiate runners, Hogan cruised to a sixth-place finish, establishing her as the favorite to repeat as A-10 champion and contender for an individual title at the NCAA Championships in her final season of eligibility.

Joining Hogan is senior Jessica Stern, who earned A-10 All-Conference honors following an eighth-place finish at the conference meet last season.

Jessica’s younger sister, sophomore Juliana Stern, is expected to make her GW debut this fall after recovering from a severe hamstring injury last season.

The women’s cross country season begins Sept. 3 with the 5K Duals at Mount St. Mary’s.

Basketball
Men’s and women’s basketball will hit the court later this fall with men’s team practice beginning Oct. 15. The team’s first games will be played in the NIT Preseason Tipoff on Nov. 16.

Men’s coach Karl Hobbs welcomes three recruits: Dan Guest, Chris Fitzgerald and Nemanja Mikic.

Coach Hobbs also added NBA veteran Donyell Marshall to the coaching staff.

Women’s basketball coach Mike Bozeman also brings in three new players—two freshmen, Erica Chandler and Chelisa Painter, and transfer Kristin Aldridge—this season.

For detailed coverage on these sports and GW’s other athletic team, visit GWsports.com.

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