Captaining through COVID-19

Playing some of the best volleyball of her career, Tigers captain Julie Moore is tasked with leading her team through another pandemic induced break

Julie Moore has been nothing but sensational throughout the 2021-2022 season, ranking second in points per set and kills per set in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) women’s volleyball.

She’s certainly put a lot of work into becoming one of the conference’s most dangerous players. But over the past couple of years, more of that work has been building herself up into a leadership role.  

“I hope that I can bring a strong court presence, lots of experience and leadership. Also helping the younger girls off the court with any of their schoolwork. Because, obviously, the last two years have been a big transition with COVID-19 and everything,” Moore said. 

The fourth-year outside hitter’s dominance has come from her hard work and her attitude towards the game. Moore’s coach, Rick Scott, said she’s a positive person who is sometimes quiet but leads by example with her actions. He said the fourth-year has opened up more over the years. 

  “She’s become more vocal and assertive, which has been great to see,” Scott said. “She’s a great teammate, a very caring person, and I think one of the things that’s probably underrated is how competitive she is. Sometimes people that are a little quieter aren’t seen as competitive, but she’s extremely competitive and driven.” 

Scott maintained she’s a tremendous athlete who is “extremely hard working.” With the talent and work ethic to become great, Moore grinds to become the best she can both on and off the court. 

 “She’s also very coachable, which allowed her to continue to grow as a player each year,” Scott said. 

Fighting back up the standings 

With injuries hampering the Tigers’ start to the season, the team is facing a new level of adversity. Dal sits comfortably in a playoff spot with a record of five wins and three losses. It’s a respectable total but not one the eight-time defending AUS champions are used to, as they haven’t dropped that many contests in a regular season since 2015-2016. On top of that, strong teams from Saint Mary’s University and Acadia University are giving the conference all it can handle. 

Moore’s seen this before though; she’s been through the season grind on championship teams twice. The team isn’t back in matches yet, but she said a lot of the work toward a title comes before the first serve of any game. 

 “I think it starts in practice for us, improving our individual skills, but also our systems as a team, and then in competition,” Moore said. “I think it comes down to who wants it the most.”  

Scott said her leadership, along with that of fellow captains Sarah Dawe and Victoria Turcot, has been important for the team. With the Tigers’ leadership group, the hope is high they will jump right back in the race for a title. Importantly, there’s much to focus on until games are back. 

“Any time you pause, you get a chance to heal some injuries that you had, maybe work on some skills because you had a little more time to practice and not just compete,” Scott said. “It also is helping [the players] develop their character to becoming resilient and positive through tough times. They might not realize that at this time, but whenever you go through things like this, it can make you stronger if you can hang in there.” 

To put up the dominant statistics Moore has posted this season, the competitiveness must be there. With her experience playing in AUS and national championships, Moore has maintained a presence on the team. 

Only having a few exhibition games last year, the satisfaction of competing wasn’t the same. Now with the chance of competing and winning this season, pending whether restrictions ease enough to allow play in Atlantic Canada, Moore said it would be fitting to end the season with a banner. 

 “I think it will be huge because this year, every team in the AUS has faced a ton of adversity with the training in COVID-19,” she said. “I think it would be a huge win for us and especially for the graduating athletes.” 

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Thomas Scott

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