Baker named AUS MVP

- February 21, 2020

WVB AUS Awards
WVB AUS Awards

Fifth-year setter Courtney Baker has been named the AUS women's volleyball MVP for the the third-straight season and an AUS first team all-star for the fifth-consecutive year.

Fifth-year middle blocker Victoria Haworth and third-year outside hitter Julie Moore were named AUS first team all-stars for the second and third time respectively. Second-year libero Catherine Callaghan was named to the second team and first-year middle blocker Myriam Arseneau was named to the all-rookie team.



Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020

2019-20 AUS women’s volleyball major award winners and all-stars announced 
Dalhousie’s Courtney Baker named MVP

(HALIFAX, N.S.) Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2019-20 AUS women's volleyball all-stars and major award winners as selected by the conference's six head coaches following regular season play. 

Fifth-year Dalhousie Tigers setter Courtney Baker (Bridgewater, N.S.) was named the AUS most valuable player for the third consecutive season.

Other AUS major award winners announced were Acadia’s Sydney Zakutney (Ottawa, Ont.), who earned the Kristen Ryan Memorial Award as the AUS rookie of the year; Memorial’s Margaret Henley (St. John’s, N.L.), who received the Erin Bursey Memorial Award for student-athlete community service; and Acadia Axewomen head coach Michelle Wood, who was named AUS coach of the year for the second time in her career.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Courtney Baker, Dalhousie

Courtney Baker, a setter with the Dalhousie Tigers, has been named the AUS most valuable player for the third consecutive season.

A kinesiology student from Bridgewater, N.S., Baker finished second in the conference in both assists (607) and assists per set (8.93).

She appeared in 21 matches for the Tigers this season. The Dalhousie squad finished first in the AUS standings, losing just one match all season for a 19-1 record.

In addition to being selected as the AUS MVP, Baker earned a place on the AUS first team all-star squad for the fifth consecutive year. Her career accomplishments also include having been named to the 2015-16 AUS all-rookie team in her freshman year with Dalhousie.

Baker is the first women’s volleyball player in AUS history to earn the conference’s top honour in three consecutive seasons.

She is the sixth player from the Dalhousie Tigers to be named the conference’s most valuable player. Former Tigers standouts Tara MacIntyre (1991-92, 1992-93), Christine Frail (1995-96), Jennifer Parkes (1997-98), Jilliane Goulet (2002-03, 2004-05), and Maggie Li (2013-14) also earned the honour.

Baker now looks to become the first AUS player to win the national player of the year award since Dalhousie's Karin Maessen took home the honour in 1981-82.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Sydney Zakutney, Acadia (Kristen Ryan Memorial Award)

Acadia Axewomen setter Sydney Zakutney has been selected as the 2019-20 recipient of the Kristen Ryan Memorial Award as AUS rookie of the year.

Playing in 19 matches and 65 sets for the Axewomen this season, Zakutney finished third in the conference in assists per set (8.86).

A science student from Ottawa, Ont., she was also named to the AUS first team all-star squad today and to the AUS all-rookie team.

This season, she helped the Axewomen to a 12-8 record and a third-place finish in the conference standings to secure a spot in the AUS playoffs.

This is just the third time a player from the Axewomen has earned AUS rookie of the year honours. Former Acadia standouts Meg Rector and Lori-Beth MacEwen won the award in 2009-10 and 2000-01, respectively.

In 2013, this award was renamed in honour of former Cape Breton Capers player Kristen Ryan. A native of Port Hastings, N.S. and a five-year member of the CBU women’s volleyball team, Ryan was a two-time Atlantic conference all-star and was named the AUS libero of the year in 2009-10. She passed away in 2012 following a motor vehicle accident.

Zakutney now becomes the AUS nominee for the Mark Tennant Award as U SPORTS rookie of the year. No Atlantic conference player has ever won the national award.

STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Margaret Henley, Memorial (Erin Bursey Memorial Award)

Memorial Sea-Hawks setter Margaret Henley is the 2019-20 recipient of the Erin Bursey Memorial Award, given to the women's volleyball student-athlete who best exhibits outstanding achievements in three areas: volleyball, academics and community involvement.

Henley, a second-year science student from St. John’s, N.L., played in 19 games and 55 sets for the Sea-Hawks this season, finishing with 125 assists (2.27 assists per set).

She volunteers extensively within the university and larger St. John’s, N.L. community.

For the past four years, she has volunteered with The Gathering Place—a community health centre which provides food, clothing, medical help and counselling services to vulnerable individuals.

On campus she volunteers with the Best Buddies MUN program—a group that promotes friendship and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

This past season, she became involved with, a national organization focused on mental health. Henley helped plan events on campus for students for the organization.

She also leant her time to such organizations and causes as Ronald McDonald House and Relay for Life.

Henley is the second Memorial volleyball player to earn the student-athlete community service award. Former Sea-Hawks standout Adrienne Penney won the award in 2013-14.

This award was renamed in honour of former Memorial Sea-Hawks student-athlete Erin Bursey. Bursey, a two-time CIS (now U SPORTS) academic all-Canadian and a captain with the Sea-Hawks women's volleyball team, passed away in 2012 following a pedestrian-vehicle accident in St. John's, N.L.

Henley now becomes the AUS nominee for the U SPORTS Therese Quigley Award.

Players from the Atlantic conference have received this award seven times. Recipients include Saint Mary’s Hannah Stienburg (2018-19), Acadia’s Sarah Ross (2015-16), UNB’s Paige Paulsen (2014-15), Memorial’s Adrienne Penney (2013-14), Acadia's Lori-Beth MacEwen (2002-03 and 2003-04) and Mount Allison's Megan Toews (2001-02).

COACH OF THE YEAR: Michelle Wood, Acadia

In her eighth season at the helm of the Axewomen program, Coach Michelle Wood has been selected by her peers as the AUS coach of the year for the second time in her career.

Under Wood’s leadership, Acadia finished with a 12-8 record and a third-place finish in the AUS standings to clinch a spot in the Subway AUS Women’s Volleyball Playoffs.

The Axewomen finished the regular season second in points per set (15.5) and third in kills per set (10.94). Their hitting efficiency (.155) was also the second best in the conference.

Acadia handed the seven-time defending champion Dalhousie Tigers their sole loss of the regular season on Feb. 9 in straight sets.

Wood will now represent the AUS as the nominee for U SPORTS coach of the year.

Dalhousie’s Rick Scott earned the U SPORTS coach of the year award in the 2016-17 season, becoming the second AUS coach to ever win the national honour. Moncton’s Monette Boudreau-Carroll was named CIS (now U SPORTS) coach of the year in 2007-08.


The Atlantic University Sport first and second team all-stars were also announced Thursday, along with this year's all-rookie team.

First Team All-Stars
Courtney Baker, Dalhousie (5th year – Bridgewater, N.S.)
Lucy Glen-Carter, Acadia (3rd year – Toronto, Ont.)
Victoria Haworth, Dalhousie (5th year – Waverley, N.S.)
Olivia Bell, Saint Mary’s (2nd year – Lahave, N.S.)
Victoria Eadle, UNB (4th year – Gallagher Ridge, N.B.)
Julie Moore, Dalhousie (3rd year – Halifax, N.S.)
Sydney Zakutney, Acadia (1st year – Ottawa, Ont.)

Second Team All-Stars
Renee Cleveland, Saint Mary’s (2nd year – Saint Martin, N.S.)
Kristen Burns, UNB (4th year – Mississauga, Ont.)
Bethany Smith, Saint Mary’s (3rd year – Moncton, N.B.)
Robyn Anderson, UNB (5th year – Jaffray, B.C.)
Joanie Arsenault, Moncton (2nd year – Tracadie-Sheila, N.B.)
Catherine Callaghan, Dalhousie (2nd year – Halifax, N.S.)
Hannah Helm, Acadia (4th year – Halifax, N.S.) 

All-Rookie Team
Sydney Zakutney, Acadia (Ottawa, Ont.)
Myriam Arseneau, Dalhousie (Dieppe, N.B.)
Cassidy Martin, Moncton (Dieppe, N.B.)
Megan Bruhm, Saint Mary’s (Hubley, N.S.) 

The schedule for the semi-final round of the 2020 Subway AUS Women’s Volleyball Playoffs, presented by Keep It Social, is as follows: 

Semifinal Series A: UNB (4th) at Dalhousie (1st)

Game 1: Thursday, Feb. 20 – UNB at Dalhousie, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Friday, Feb. 21 – UNB at Dalhousie, 7 p.m.
Game 3*: Saturday, Feb. 22 – UNB at Dalhousie, 7 p.m. (*if necessary) 

Semifinal Series B: Acadia (3rd) at Saint Mary’s (2nd)

Game 1: Thursday, Feb. 20 – Acadia at Saint Mary’s, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Friday, Feb. 21 – Acadia at Saint Mary’s, 7 p.m.
Game 3*: Saturday, Feb. 22 – Acadia at Saint Mary’s, 4 p.m. (*if necessary)

The winners of each series will advance to the Subway AUS Women’s Volleyball Championship finals. This best-of-three final series will be hosted by the highest remaining seed.

All games will be webcast at

The AUS champion will advance to the U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship being hosted by the University of Calgary March 13-15.


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