by Kirk Jessome
Looking to claim their record-setting eighth consecutive AUS banner this season, the Dalhousie Tigers women’s volleyball team are also eyeing their first U SPORTS since 1982 medal during that stretch.
The group is led by two-time AUS MVP setter, Courtney Baker, who is returning for her fifth and final season, along with second team all-Canadian and two-time AUS all-star Julie Moore. Both Baker and Moore are coming off of a summer as part of Canada’s eighth-place FISU Summer Universiade squad.
Baker also started her summer by being named to Volleyball Canada’s senior NextGen Squad, playing just under the senior national team.
Moore finished last season second in the conference in both kills per set, and total kills, and will likely continue to be a major offensive threat with the graduation of fellow outside hitter Mieke DuMont.
Also returning to the Tigers for her fifth season is middle blocker Victoria Haworth. A consistent blocking presence at the net for the Tigers, Haworth is also a high-precision attacker after leading the conference in hitting efficiency last season. Haworth’s defensive presence is a key piece of the Tigers success each season.
There are a few new faces on the Tigers roster this season, but many of them are bringing a veteran presence with them.
Returning to U SPORTS volleyball for the first time since the 2015-16 season, Kristen Bartmann will join the Tigers at the libero position after spending four fantastic seasons at the University of Waterloo. Bartmann was consistently in the top five of the OUA conference in both digs per set and total digs. Her best season performance came in 2013-14 when Bartmann finished at the top of the conference in total digs and a close second in digs per set.
Looking to compete for time at the libero position, Micaela Sabean will also be joining the Tigers for her fifth and final season after spending the previous four as a member of the Acadia Axewomen. Sabean put up impressive numbers in her first season as an outside hitter before making the switch to the libero position where she finished at the top of the conference in total digs, and third in digs per set behind now graduated Tiger, Alyssa Harding.
Having depth at the libero position can only be a benefit to the Tigers, especially with Sabean’s experience as an outside hitter. Head coach Rick Scott will have the ability to get creative with positions in his lineup with 2017-18 AUS all-rookie team member Catherine Callaghan (also a libero) returning to the team after taking last season off.
The final graduate-transfer coming to the Tigers roster this season is Sarah Dawe, an outside hitter who spent three years playing for the Memorial Sea-Hawks. Dawe plays well on both sides of the ball, finishing top five in the AUS conference in total kills and kills per set in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, as well as putting up an impressive number of digs for her team.
After receiving the number one overall ranking in the U SPORTS Top 10 for the first time in program history last season, this year’s veteran roster will look to continue that progress and improve on a dominant 18-2 regular season record and bring that success to the national stage.
The march toward the Tigers eighth-consecutive AUS championship banner win begins on October 25th when they head across town to take on the Saint Mary’s Huskies. The Tigers host the Acadia Axewomen in their home opener on October 27th at 2:00pm.