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WHILE CATHOLIC has recent experience winning volleyball titles, George Washington does as well. The Patriots are the defending Class AAA state champions from a year ago under coach Missy Smith.
Smith knows the bull's-eye will clearly be with her Patriots, despite GW losing nine of its top 12 players to graduation, including State Player of the Year Hannah Shreve, who is playing at West Virginia University.
"We have always felt like we have a target on us, but now that we are the defending state champion, we know teams are coming after us," Smith said. "To graduate nine players, teams think they can get us."
Smith still feels that GW can still make some noise this season.
"We are looking to defend our title to the best of our abilities," Smith said. "We are fortunate that it is feasible year in and year. It is a lot of pressure but a lot of pride as well. The girls have been putting the time in to get their shot. They haven't been handed anything."
Smith believes the program is still in good shape.
"We always put a lot of emphasis on our JV (junior varsity) program," Smith said. "They only lost four matches last year. They are used to playing and winning. I think we have done a good job of establishing who we want to be. Anybody who comes into our program knows we have high expectations."
Smith and the Patriots will look to defend their title when they open their season on Saturday at the Woodrow Wilson Tournament. The event has 10 teams and GW will start against Greenbrier East.
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IN CLASS AA, the Herbert Hoover volleyball program will be looking to continue its wining ways as well. The Huskies have made the State Tournament the past three seasons under coach Anita King.
Hoover makes the trek up to north this Saturday to participate in the Morgantown Tournament.