By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer
George Washington’s power duo of 6-foot-plus Hannah Shreve and Alexis Mourer aren’t just big.
They’re strong, and they don’t get tired.
And that’s bad news for opponents.
“The height helps,” coach Missy Smith said after her Patriots defeated Greenbrier East for the Class AAA Region 3 championship Saturday at Woodrow Wilson High School. “They’ve been in the weight room in the offseason and out on the track as soon as it got warm in the spring.
“They didn’t have to worry about getting in shape in August and it shows. They played very, very well today.”
George Washington (44-10-3) opened the afternoon by downing Woodrow Wilson 25-13, 25-8, 25-16. The 6-4 Shreve’s dominance was apparent early, as she neutralized Woodrow’s own outstanding middle, Anne Patterson.
“They’re powerhouse,” Woodrow coach Shirley Brown said. “They didn’t have any seniors at all last year, so it’s the exact same team they were dynamite with last year.
“Our girls fought a good fight, but when they have so many dynamic hitters, it’s hard when you don’t have as many blockers.”
The 6-1 Mourer turned it up for GW in the 25-12, 25-19, 25-20 win over Greenbrier East.
Worst still for the Spartans, the other Patriot hitters, particularly Tori Strong and Casey Rollins, were on top of their games as well.
“Both Hannah and Alexis have been out with (injured) ankles, but we played around them,” Smith said. “You have to play as a unit. That’s how you win in volleyball.”
East’s 5-8 dynamo, Abby Brown, and 5-11 middle, Katie Shaver, fought courageously against the taller opposition, and occasionally pounded a hit through their blocks.
In fact, the third of the best-of-five match was very competitive, with GW pulling it out 25-20.
“By the third game, we started to get more aggressive, but it was too little, too late,” Spartans coach Matt Sauvage said. “GW is a good team, and when you give free balls to them, you’re asking for them to hit it.”
Smith thought her team was very businesslike.
“We were ready. We wanted to win the region and get a good draw at (next week’s) state tournament,” she said. “Everything bounced our way today, and I hope it continues.”
Woodrow had taken East to five games Friday in the Section 1 championship (17-25, 25-16, 25-20, 16-25, 15-10), but the Spartans came back strong to defeat Capital 25-19, 25-20, 25-15 in the regional semifinal.
“I’ll give Capital credit. They’re much better than what I saw early in the year,” Sauvage said. “It was hard playing an intense game the night before, but the girls picked up and overcame what Capital was doing.”
East, by finishing as the Region 3 runner-up, will also advance to the state tournament.
“At this point, everybody is 0-0, and we have as good a shot at winning as anyone else,” Sauvage said. “It’s a seeding game. Everybody is back to square one.”
CLASS AAA REGION 3 TOURNAMENT
at Woodrow Wilson High School
George Washington d. Woodrow Wilson 25-13, 25-8, 25-16
Greenbrier East d. Capital 25-19, 25-20, 25-15
George Washington d. Greenbrier East 25-12, 25-19, 25-20