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2021-2022 winter sports preview

In September, the Dalhousie Gazette published previews for Dalhousie University Tigers varsity teams that began play before mid-October. Now, we take a look at everyone else who will represent the Tigers in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) and Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) action this season. 

There remains no shortage of storylines. Some teams have the pressure on them to continue recent successes, having won or come close to winning the conference in 2019-2020. Others are different, hoping the 18-month break in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic will have provided enough rest and reflection to turn a new leaf this season. Whatever it may be, student-athletes, coaches and fans are ecstatic to finally get back on the court, track or in the pool again, so it’s safe to expect we’ll see a lot of energy from these teams as they begin their seasons. 

Women’s basketball 

The Tigers will hope to improve upon their conference record of two wins and 18 losses in the 2019-2020 season, as Anton Berry begins his first year as interim head coach.  

The squad was strengthened over the summer with additions like guard Maia Timmons of Hantsport, N.S., who played three years for the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and will step in as a leader.  

An important returnee is Chloe Wilson, who led the team with 13.4 points per game in 2019-2020. Returning veterans Emily Holt, Hannah Chadwick, Lia Kentzler and Morgan Mudge all enter their fourth year in the program and third year of eligibility. The Tigers begin their campaign on Oct. 29 at Cape Breton University.  

Men’s basketball 

This Dal team will hope to recapture the magic of the 2019-2020 season, where they fell just short of national gold to the Carlton University Ravens in the U SPORTS Final 8 basketball championship final.  

Without a season the following year, the Tigers are eager to make another run like that this season. Veterans Keevan Veinot and Alex Carson will take the lead, both coming off of stints in the Canadian Elite Basketball League this summer, with Carson helping the Edmonton Stingers to the title.  

The squad will be strengthened with first-year Jeven Eddy of Toronto committing to Dal in May, among other recruits. It would be huge for head coach Rick Plato’s team to have these younger guys step up and help fill the spots left by departed Sascha Kappos and Xavier Ochu after 2019-20. On Oct. 29, the men’s Tigers also open their season on the road in Cape Breton, taking on the Capers. 

Men’s volleyball 

The Tigers will look to bounce back from an injury-ravaged 2019-2020 where they went winless in 16 games.  

The squad includes multiple recruits looking to make an immediate impact, with Dan Dahr, Dan Pettipas and Derrick Ejeckam all committing last spring. With experience in multiple national and regional competitions, this class will look to strengthen the Tigers’ depth in attack and defence.  

Returning players Jeffrey Walton and Michael Donovan hope to come out strong, while Ethan Boyd and Andrew Arseneau look to capitalize on solid seasons two years ago. With a few wins racked up in the preseason, coach Dan Ota’s squad looks to start on the right foot as they host the University of New Brunswick Reds in their opening (RSEQ) matchup on Oct. 15. 

Women’s volleyball 

The Dal Tigers women’s volleyball team is eyeing their ninth consecutive conference title this season, following a dominant 2019-2020 campaign that saw them lose only one game.  

The team will be led by captain Julie Moore. She finished second in the AUS last season with four points per set. Victoria Turcot and Sarah Dawe are two more returnees, who finished third and fourth, respectively, in kills and kills per set in 2019-2020.  

Rookie outside hitter Talia Vydykhan and setter Brett Boldon, among others, will also get their first taste of regular season action with head coach Rick Scott’s squad. The Tigers begin their season on Oct. 30 when they host UNB. 


2019-2020 was another strong year in the pool for the swimming teams and although they didn’t capture double-gold like years before, they will be right back in contention for medals this time around.  

The men were bested by the Acadia University Axemen in the 2020 AUS championships, but are still a favourite as they pursue their 22nd championship in the last 23 seasons.  

Christian Payne will lead the way after a successful 2019-2020. With a number of veterans moved on we’ll hear more of names like Noah Brake and Evan Feick.  

The women will attempt to defend their title for the 20th consecutive time. With several veterans not returning this season, Reagan Crowell, Martine Nyhof and Abbey Corish will be some names that will help coach Lance Cansdale’s team bring back gold in the women’s competition. Their first swim meet is at Acadia on Oct. 16.  

Track and Field 

Dal is the superpower of the AUS track and field world.  

The women have won the conference every year since 1989 and the men every year except four since 1990. This year isn’t expected to be much different. The women’s side was led by veterans in 2019-2020, but returning student-athletes like combined events athlete Lorena Heubach (who set a school record in pentathlon last season), sprinter Taylor Mattinson and thrower Chelsea MacIsaac, are primed for big 2021-2022 seasons.  

The mens’ most significant loss is multi-year U SPORTS champion sprinter Matt Coolen. But middle-distance runner Hudson Grimshaw-Surette, sprinter Josh Lunda and sprinter/jumper Nicholas Beaulieu are more than capable of leading Dal back to the top. Although they will likely hold competitions earlier, the 2022 AUS Championships are at UNB on Feb. 25-26.  


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