Updated: Dalhousie reclaims AUS men’s volleyball title
Photos above courtesy of Andrew Meade (The Brunswickan). Click any photo to enlarge.
The Dalhousie Tigers would dominate the AUS men’s volleyball championship over the weekend, defeating the UNB Varsity Reds 3 – 1 twice.
Heading into the weekend, the V-Reds sat in second place, with Dal hosting the first game of the championship. It was a hard-fought four-set match in Halifax, where the Tigers first defeated the Reds 3 – 1 (25 – 18, 25 – 22, 28 – 30, 26 – 24).
From there, the fate of the championship title rested in Game 2. If the V-Reds had won, there would have been a third match; if Dal won, the championship title was theirs.
It was a tight game Feb. 19 until the fourth set, when the Varsity Reds fell apart completely.
“That’s just kind of the way we’ve been playing for the last couple of weekends unfortunately,” said UNB head coach Dan McMorran.
“We play some great ball then take some points. And when you’re riding those kinds of waves it’s difficult to generate momentum. When you’re playing against a team like Dalhousie and we’re riding a wave over here, they can pounce on things pretty quick.”
Reminiscent of the last two games in the regular season—where the Varsity Reds also lost against Dal—the team was riding a wave of winning a set then losing the next. Playing as hard as they could, the V-Reds still lost 3 – 1 (28 – 26, 24 – 26, 25 – 19, 25 – 20).
The first two sets were point-for-point, with the first set going to Dal and the second to UNB. In the third set the V-Reds dropped a few points, giving Dal the chance to pull ahead.
By the fourth set, UNB’s momentum was completely gone and it seemed like a different team was playing the Tigers. At the technical timeout, the score sat 16 – 7 in Dal’s favour. The final set score was 25 – 20 after a UNB comeback that came too late.
“We’ve got no excuses,” coach McMorran said. “Dalhousie came out and played with a defensive intensity the last couple of weekends and we struggled to match that.”
Sunday’s game was the last for fifth-year John Sheehan, a disappointing finish to his Varsity Reds career.
“We didn’t play very good today, and they [Dal] played good for the last four games.” Sheehan said after Sunday’s game, “They deserve it.”
“We couldn’t get a pass up, we couldn’t side out on them and, I mean, we just handed them a bunch of points. We didn’t really start going until our backs were against the wall, I think it was 20 – 10, we did a good job at chipping back but still 5 points down.”
With this win, Dalhousie reclaims the AUS championship title that UNB stole from them last year, snapping Dal’s 24-year reign on top of the conference.
“Our conversation will be about not enjoying the taste that’s in your mouth right now, and if that’s the case then it’s about how do we get better and how do we improve upon that,” said coach McMorran.
The Tigers will now represent the conference at the CIS championships March 2-4 at Queen’s University.
Editor’s Note: Our appreciation goes out to The Brunswickan for submitting this article from Fredericton. A Gazette article will follow shortly.