WMU News

Volleyball Broncos continue champtionship tradition

Jan. 18, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- When you attend Bronco volleyball next fall, you will notice something different about University Arena, because­for the first time in more than a decade­it is the home court of the defending MAC Champions. On Saturday, Nov. 25, the volleyball Broncos won their eighth Mid-American Conference championship and their first since 1988.

Western Michigan (25-6 overall, 17-1 MAC) earned an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, the team's first since 1989. A hard-fought, 3-1 loss to the University of Northern Iowa in the tournament first round could not dampen the euphoria of the team, the fans, or the University community for the record-setting 2000 championship season.

Playing on their home court in the MAC Tournament, Western Michigan defeated Central Michigan, 3-0, in the quarterfinals; Northern Illinois, 3-0, in a semifinals; and Ball State, 3-1, for the conference championship.

In a tournament characterized by marathon slugfest matches, the fourth and deciding game of the championship match was a rout. WMU won the fourth game, 15-3, hit an incredible .700 as a team on 14 kills with no errors, and held Ball State to a .000 hitting percentage. In the championship match, WMU had 21.0 team blocks (seven solo blocks and 28 assists), tying the MAC Tournament record set in 1987. For the tournament, Western hit .333 as a team, which ranks second in tournament history.

Bronco head coach Cathy George will not likely forget her 300th career coaching victory. It was the MAC championship match.

Junior middle blocker Zakiya Pope and senior outside hitter Alberta Griffin were named to the All-Tournament Team. Pope was the tournament's most-valuable player.

All-Conference selections

Four Broncos were named to MAC All-Conference Teams for the 2000 season. Junior outside hitter M'Myia McQuirter was selected for the honorable mention team, sophomore setter Ashley Ritter was chosen for the All-MAC Second Team, and Pope and senior outside hitter Monyka Paul were MAC First-Team selections. This is the second consecutive year that two Broncos were chosen for the six-player all-conference first team.

Zakiya Pope was also named the conference's most-valuable player. She is the first Bronco since Kim Lee, in 1992, to be named MVP for a season, the first since Joanne Bingham, in 1989, to be named MVP for the league championship tournament, and the first Bronco ever to receive both of the MAC's most-valuable accolades.

Cathy George was selected as the conference's Coach of the Year, an honor she has earned in each of her head coaching posts in three difference conferences. She was also previously recognized, in 1988, as NCAA Division II national coach of the year.

For more information, visit the Broncos on the Web <www.wmubroncos.com>.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 616 387-8400, thomas.myers@wmich.edu

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