GW carried a 10-6-2 record into its final match at the Civic Center late Thursday.
Smith expects a battle once the postseason begins, with sectionals set for Nov. 4-7 and regionals on Nov. 9. The top two teams advance from each sectional and each regional, with the state tournament set for the Civic Center Nov. 15-16.
Other teams to watch in AAA Region 3 Section 1, according to Smith, are Capital and South Charleston, with Woodrow Wilson, Greenbrier East and Riverside possibly looming in the regionals.
"It's not going to be easy getting back [to the state tournament] - absolutely,'' Smith said. "People are building programs and travel ball is growing and more kids are playing volleyball year-round. It's making programs better and teams better.
"Our sectional and regional are tough, but I definitely think we've got a shot. It's going to be tough for us to get through but if we play well, we've got a shot.''
In other early Showcase matches Thursday, Nitro beat Ripley 26-24, 25-21, Huntington topped Hurricane 27-25, 27-25 and Wirt County bested Nicholas County 25-16, 25-12. Each team was guaranteed two matches.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.