By Mike Still
The women’s volleyball team kept their AUS dominance going in 2016-17, capturing their fifth-straight conference banner. Dal’s championship win this season marked the most in a row since UNB rattled off 10 in a row from 1960-70.
The Tigers finished 19-1 in the regular season, moving on to the AUS playoffs as the top seed. It was also their best record in the nine-year tenure of head coach Rick Scott and the best overall record since the team went 16-0 in 1995-96.
Dalhousie swept No. 4 Moncton and No. 2 Memorial in the playoffs en route to the conference banner. Outside hitter Anna Dunn-Suen was named AUS championship tournament MVP for the second-straight year, while Marisa Mota and Courtney Baker were named to the all-star team.
Dal headed to Toronto for nationals, winning the consolation final to finish in fifth-place. It was an improvement from last year, where the Tigers lost in the same match.
Dalhousie fell 3-0 in the quarter-finals to the RSEQ champions and No. 4 seed Montreal, but bounced back with a 3-1 victory over host Ryerson in the consolation semifinal, followed by a 3-0 win over No. 6 Western to finish things off.
Dunn-Suen was the top point-getter in their opening match with Mota receiving player of the game honours. Baker was tremendous against Ryerson, with a 19-point performance that included 16 kills and 15 digs. Lauren Koskowich received player of the game honours in the win. Abby Czenze led a very balanced attack for the Tigers in their final match of the tournament, and was rewarded with a player of the game nod.
Individually speaking, fifth-year libero Mota was named a U SPORTS second team all-Canadian, along with an AUS first team all-star nod. Baker, along with fifth-year setter Czenze were also named AUS first team all-stars, while outside hitter Mieke DuMont was named to the second team. Hannah Aldcorn was named to the AUS all-rookie team.
Perhaps the biggest honour of the season was given to coach Scott. He was named the U SPORTS coach of the year, becoming just the second AUS representative to ever claim the award and the first since the 2007-08 season.
Dalhousie’s .187 hitting percentage was the best in the conference. They also led the AUS in digs, averaging 18.87 per set. Their 11.35 kills per set, 11.20 assists per set, 2.03 blocks per set and 15.3 points per set were all the second highest in the league.
Looking ahead to next season, the team has a strong blend of veterans and rookies to continue their conference momentum. Baker, who will be entering her third year of eligibility, is a multi-purpose threat who can be effective as either an outside hitter or setter. She, DuMont, and Emma Ciprick will step up to lead the team next season with Czenze, Mota and Amy Appleby all finishing their fifth years of eligibility.