With the 2019 Subway AUS Women’s Volleyball Championship in Halifax this weekend, here’s a look at how Dalhousie, Acadia, UNB and Saint Mary’s earned their way to the top four.
#1 The Dalhousie Tigers
The Dalhousie Tigers women’s volleyball team will look to continue their historic run this weekend and make it seven conference titles in as many seasons.
Led by fifth-year senior Mieke DuMont and last year’s U SPORTS all-rookie team member, Julie Moore, the Tigers hitters were a force to be reckoned within the conference all season long. Moore finished the regular season second in the conference in kills per set and total kills, despite the Tigers playing the fewest sets of any team in the conference, while DuMont was not far behind in fifth in kills per set.
Last year’s AUS MVP and U SPORTS first team all-Canadian Courtney Baker has had yet another standout season as a setter and attacker this year. With fine passing and crafty attacks at the net, Baker is a key piece to the Tigers success.
Starting off the season in their typical fashion, the Tigers were undefeated through the first half of the year and had been on the losing side of just two sets through those nine matches. The Tigers were a perfect 4-0 at the AUS League Tournament at the end of that stretch, where they took down Acadia 3-0 in their final match.
The momentum continued through the month of January, with the Tigers going on a 7-0 run, and didn’t drop a single set in any of those matches. The run gave the Tigers national attention, giving them their first #1 ranking in the U SPORTS Top 10 in program history.
It was only in the final four matches of the season where the Tigers hit a slight bump, dropping their first match of the season to Saint Mary’s, and then getting shut out 3-0 by UNB. The Tigers were able to follow up each of those losses with another win, and closed out their season with a 3-0 win over Moncton.
A fantastic 18-2 record gave the Tigers the number one seed and a #3 ranking in the U SPORTS Top 10 going into the championship tournament.
#2 Acadia Axewomen
The Axewomen split their opening weekend of the regular season with a win against the visiting Moncton Aigles Bleus and a 3-1 loss to the defending AUS champion Dalhousie Tigers in late October.
November opened with a six-match winning streak that included the AUS tournament hosted by Acadia. The streak was snapped in the second last match of the weekend tournament against Dalhousie.
Opening 2019 with a loss to the Tigers, the Axewomen rebounded back with wins against Saint Mary’s at home and at Moncton. January ended with a UNB sweep of the Axewomen in Fredericton that was quickly reversed in Wolfville with a 3-1 win over the Reds in early February.
The Axewomen ended the season with three one-game weekends on the road, picking up wins against Moncton and Saint Mary’s, and a loss to Dalhousie.
Finishing the season with a 14-6 record, the Axewomen placed second in the AUS standings – the highest since their 2006-07 second-place season.
Second-year Axewoman Lucy Glen-Carter finished the season strong as the AUS’s leader in kills with 217 and third in average kills per set of 3.01. Teammate Regan Herrington led the conference in assists and service aces, while Micaela Sabean finished first in digs as a first year libero.
#3 UNB Reds
Under new head coach Christine Biggs, the Reds began the season with three consecutive wins.
Led by fifth-year senior Siobhan Fitzpatrick, and former AUS rookie of the year Victoria Eadle, the Reds resurgence really took shape over the latter half of the season.
UNB won nine of their final 11 matches, including a weekend sweep of second-place Acadia and a straight-sets win over then U SPORTS No. 1 ranked Dalhousie.
Among the individual highlights during the season, veteran libero Maggie McLenahan recorded the 1000th dig of her five-year career.
#4 Saint Mary’s Huskies
Saint Mary’s (11-9) finished the AUS regular season winning six out of their last seven matches. Their 806 kills and 11.16 assists per set were good for second in league standings. They led the league in digs per set with 19.11 and finished fourth with 14.7 points per set.
Bethany Smith’s 160 kills paced the Huskies while Olivia Bell (146), Lindsay Donovan (141) and Jaime Rourke (141) all finished in the top-10 for kills. Anna Watt had 105 kills.
Darren Russell (115-66) is in his 10th season leading the Huskies and coached Saint Mary’s to their two last AUS championships in 2010 and 2012.
The two-day event is hosted by the Dalhousie Tigers at Dalplex.
Friday, March 1
4:30pm SMU (4) vs DAL (1) semifinal #1
7:00pm UNB (3) vs ACA (2) semifinal #2
Saturday, March 2
4:00pm Championship final
All games will be broadcast on AUStv.ca
More information on the event including ticket prices, can be found here.
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