George Washington University's women's volleyball team is among 16 squads competing in the fourth annual Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) small-college national-championship tournament being held today through Saturday at Florida Technological University in Orlando.
The Colonials (34-14) reached the nationals by beating East Stroudsburg State (Pa.) for the Area One (Eastern region) championship Nov. 18.
"There are only two seniors on the team. Judy Morrison and Carmen Samule," said Coach Pat Sullivan. "Seven of our players are freshmen, but I'm really proud of the level of maturity they've reached in such a short period of time.
"This will be the first time any of them will have faced a really pressurized situation like the nationals," said Sullivan, who took two of her Nebraska teams to the tourney.
"We're obviously in a very difficult pool, but we hope to win at least two matches in preliminary play so that we'll be ranked in the top eight teams in the country," she added.
The first part of the tournament, consisting of single-elimination play with four pools of four teams each, begins Thursday when GW plays Missouri Western at 8:45 a.m. Eighth-seeded Florida International and top-seeded University of Hawaii-hilo are also in GW's opening-round pool.
The top two teams in each pool advance to a double-elimination round.
Along with Morrison and Samuel, GW's top seven players are Debbie Spry, Linda Barney, Leslie Bond, who attended Sherwood High School last year, and Carol Byrd and Lori On dusko, both 1978 graduates of Friendly.
Bond, at 6 feet, and Barney both play on the women's basketball team at GW. Barney is the second-leading scorer.