WMU News

Volleyball Broncos tryout for USA Team

Feb. 1, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Three members of the WMU volleyball team are heading to Colorado Springs, Colo., to try out for the USA National and National A-2 Teams Thursday through Sunday (Feb. 1-4).

Sophomore setter Ashley Ritter (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) and juniors Zakiya Pope (East Lansing, Mich.) and M'Myia McQuirter (Grand Rapids, Mich./Ottawa Hills) will head west for the open tryouts. The players will participate in 19 hours of practice over three days with some of the top players from across the nation.

"We'll see where they fit in and assess their ability," WMU head coach Cathy George said. "There are a couple of benefits of sending players to these tryouts. One is the overall experience of matching up against the best players in the country and figuring out where they fit in. I think they'll be pleasantly surprised."

The trio of Broncos helped Western Michigan capture its first Mid-American Conference championship since 1989 and reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 seasons. WMU finished the year 25-6 overall, 17-1 in MAC play. The Broncos fell 3-1 to Northern Iowa in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Madison, Wis.

Pope was named MVP of the regular season and MAC Tournament and also earned first team all-conference accolades. Ritter was named to the all-league second team while McQuirter earned honorable mention all-conference honors. George received MAC Coach of the Year honors for leading her third different collegiate program to the NCAA postseason.

"I wouldn't send the players if I didn't feel they matched the physical caliber of the players there," George said. "It's important people are aware of the level of athlete that we have here at Western Michigan."

Former Bronco volleyball standouts Traci Morin and Mandy Whitfield were members of the USA A2 National Team in the summer of 1999, prior to their senior season at WMU. Morin and Whitfield completed their careers at WMU as co-most-valuable players for the 1999 season. Both were also named to the MAC All-Conference First Time.

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

Media contact: Geoff Brown; 616 387-4138; geoffrey.brown@wmich.edu

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