IM this article to a friend!

October 1, 2003

COLONIALS' Record Run Is Just Phase I

From: Washington Post, DC - Oct 1, 2003

By Emily Badger
Washington Post
Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 1, 2003; Page D02

When the George Washington women's volleyball team won five straight matches to start the fall season, it was a pleasant surprise. The streak stretched to seven, and senior setter Lauren Dunning tempted fate by inquiring about the school record. When the Colonials beat Georgetown for the first time in six seasons to start 10-0, it was official.

George Washington was off to the best start in the program's 28-year history.

Jojit Coronel, coach of the now 12-2 Colonials, chalks up the team's early success to the experience of a handful of seniors, the influx of a deep recruiting class, and the seamless ability to mix and match all of them on any given game day. Coronel doesn't maintain a consistent starting lineup, and for some reason his strategy has defied odds to maximize the team's depth rather than rob it of stability.

"Unlike Allen Iverson, practice is very important to us," Coronel said. "We don't have top-50 kids, or the number one player in the country, so we can't just say, 'You're going to be in here all the time.' " His players are learning that a bump to the bench "doesn't mean we don't like you," Coronel said, and few can grouse about the results: Six of the Colonials' 12 wins have come in three-game sweeps, and one of their two losses was to No. 17 Santa Clara.

The stretch has been the culmination of a three-year plan for George Washington's four seniors. As freshmen, they won the Atlantic-10 -- largely with the help of six seniors.

A Fresh Perspective

Mike Higgins says he was well aware of the "horror stories" surrounding the Gallaudet men's soccer program: It hasn't won a Capital Athletic Conference game since 1997 and had notched a total of six victories in the past five seasons combined.

But none of that seemed to bother him as he considered transferring from George Washington earlier this year. The native of Potomac has rejuvenated the team with 10 goals and five assists through the first nine games.

Gallaudet is now 6-3, having won five straight games for the first time in school history.

"I believe that this team had what it took to succeed all along, and having experienced what it takes to play at the top level of collegiate soccer, I was able to give the team something to rally around, and that gave us confidence in ourselves," Higgins said in an e-mail.

The Hits Keep Coming

Maryland volleyball senior Lynnsy Jones reached 1,000 career kills two weeks ago -- to add to her record of most kills in a single match (33) and in a single season (533), both set last year -- and then recorded her Maryland-record 170th career service ace last weekend in Chicago.

"I wasn't even aware of it. My dad called me after the match to let me know," she said. "He said, 'Did you get any service aces this weekend?' I said yeah. 'Well, you broke the school record.' "

© 2003 The Washington Post Company