Women’s volleyball comes up short for AUS title
All photos submitted courtesy of Normand A. Léger. Click any photo to enter slideshow.
In the end, Dalhousie’s women’s volleyball team was not meant to take home the AUS banner.
The Tigers came into the championship final against Saint Mary’s as unmistakable underdogs, and they left the court as such, losing to the better team. The Huskies, ranked at season’s close as the nation’s second best squad, won AUS supremacy with a 3 – 1 triumph Feb. 19 at the University of Moncton.
Winning this championship helps right a wrong for Saint Mary’s. The league-leading Huskies were surprisingly upset in the 2011 final to UNB and were motivated to avoid the same fate against Dal this weekend.
This is Saint Mary’s fourth title in seven years.
The Tigers made this a contest in the second set, basically matching the Huskies point-for-point to even the match at one apiece. The second set, however, would count as Dal’s only victory.
The Tigers’ deficit in the third set was as many as 10 points, but Dal would claw back from the 22 – 12 climb to only fall 25 – 19 in the end. Dal never had the lead in the deciding fourth set, succumbing to an explosive kill from Kerri Smit to seal Dal’s fate with a 25 – 22 defeat.
Game scores were 25 – 17, 26 – 28, 25 – 19 and 25 – 22.
The victory qualifies the Huskies for the CIS championships. The AUS representative will take on seven other teams in the quest for the national championship Mar. 2-4 at McMaster University.
The three-pronged attack of outside hitters Louise Facca and Raessa Lalani and middle Maggie Li led Dal’s offensive charge with 12 kills each. Kirstie Shepherd added 11 more. Saint Mary’s top offensive contributors were Smit, the first-ever three-time MVP in conference history, and first-team all star Ariel Smith. They each had 17 points.
To make it to the final, both teams won their semifinal the day before. The Tigers came out on top against Memorial with a dominant fifth set, winning 3 – 2. Saint Mary’s pushed aside Moncton 3 – 1 to set the stage for their championship win.
This article will be updated later with player reaction.