August 6, 1998
KALAMAZOO -- Coach Cathy George returns five starters among six letter winners from a 1997 team that compiled a 9-7 mark in the Mid-American Conference and advanced to the MAC tournament for the first time since 1992. WMU's volleyball squad returns to campus Aug. 10 to open its fall practice.
"We won't have as difficult a transition as we experienced last year," said George. Last season, George guided a young team that featured only three holdover letter winners. "Our initial focus will be on fundamentals, ball control and defense," George said. "Those things will go a long way toward determining what kind of season we will have."
Heading the returning letter winners this season is third-year middle blocker Traci Moran, an All-MAC second team selection in 1997. Senior outside hitter Stephanie Rotunno was an all-conference honorable mention selection, while second-year outside hitter Monyka Paul was named to the league's freshman team last season.
The other returning regulars are junior outside hitter Mandy Whitfield, who led WMU in kills with 426, and sophomore defensive specialist Kelly Kuharski. The other returning letter winner is senior middle blocker Andrea Cole.
The Broncos open the season at home versus Chicago State on Tuesday, Sept. 1, at University Arena.
The early season schedule includes two tournaments at home, Sept. 4-5 and Sept. 18-19, featuring national competition. The Broncos open their MAC schedule at Northern Illinois on Wednesday, Sept. 23.
Coach Cathy George is entering her fifth season at WMU. She directed nationally prominent programs at the University of Texas-Arlington and North Dakota State University before arriving in Kalamazoo. She was the first female head coach to lead a team to the NCAA Final Four (Texas-Arlington in 1989), and she was named national "coach of the year" in NCAA Division II in 1988 while at North Dakota State.
Media contact: John Beatty; 616 387-4138; firstname.lastname@example.org
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