The winning streak held by Dalhousie’s women’s volleyball team was bound to snap sometime. Unfortunately for them, that 16-game run ended last weekend at nationals.
After earning their first AUS championship since 2005, the Tigers went from jubilation to disappointment, collapsing in three straight sets Feb. 28 to lose to Trinity Western University in the quarter-final.
The defeat knocked Dal from medal contention, where they dropped a 3-1 consolation round decision to Laval, the last team to beat the Tigers before they started their 16-game spell.
Despite less than stellar results in Sherbrooke, Tigers coach Rick Scott says this was a beneficial trip for his team.
“We hoped we could make some noise this year. We didn’t, but we gained really valuable experience competing in a national championship,” he says. “This experience will serve us well if we get back there again.”
This past weekend does not blemish what was a remarkable season for the Tigers. They won every game against their AUS opponents, including a year-ending 11 straight contests without losing a single set.
The Atlantic champions, ranked fifth in the tournament, simply met their match at nationals.
Scott says this tournament was a necessary culture shock.
“You’re preaching in practice how good you need to be and they know it now,” he says. “Hopefully that serves them well this summer and next year.”
The Tigers will return most of their championship team in the fall, with the notable exceptions of graduating seniors Hilary Sears and Louise Facca.
One of Dal’s future leaders is sure to be middle Maggie Li. She was named a CIS second team all-star in only her second season.
“We still have a lot of good players coming back next year, so we’re going to have a good team again.”
With their 2013 title, the University of British Columbia tied the national record for most consecutive women’s volleyball championships with six straight, joining Winnipeg (1983-1988) and Alberta (1995-2000) in exclusive company.
The only team to top UBC this season was Trinity Western, Dal’s opening foe at nationals.