Winter semester is underway, which means varsity teams at Dalhousie University are into the second half of their seasons. Here’s where your men’s and women’s volleyball, basketball, hockey and swimming teams are standing.
With about a month until the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) championship, the Tigers are in comfortably first in the AUS and ranked third nationally. A record of 11 wins and one loss (11-1) at the time of writing has them with a sizeable 14 point lead over the second place team in the conference. In all but one of their wins, they’ve outscored their opponent by 18 or more points. Combining their scoring prowess with a roster that has considerable playoff and Final 8 national tournament experience, the Tigers have a good chance of repeating last year’s AUS victory.
It’s been a tough season so far for the women’s basketball team. With a record of 2-10, they’re in the basement of the AUS standings. A championship isn’t in the cards for this season, but it’s important to remember that the Tigers are young: nearly three-quarters of their roster is in second year or younger. The team should grow into a challenging opponent in the next few seasons. Players like forward Chloe Wilson, currently leading the team with 13.5 points per game, should provide a scoring threat as the team matures.
Likewise, the men’s volleyball team is going through a transition year as injuries have plagued their roster. Highly touted rookie Michael Donovan has been out all season with a torn hamstring; fourth-year outside hitter Jeffrey Walton has also not played a game. But the Tigers haven’t been a pushover. Against the Université de Sherbrooke Vert et Or and the Université Laval Rouge et Or, they forced both teams to five sets. Once they have a healthy roster, it shouldn’t be long until the Tigers are seeing success on the scoreboard.
Currently ranked first nationally, the women’s volleyball Tigers are undefeated in the 2019-2020 season. They’ve lost only four sets all year. Their closest game was against the University of Acadia Axewomen, who are tied with the Saint Mary’s University Huskies for second place in the AUS. Heading into playoffs at the end of February, Acadia and Saint Mary’s are the Tigers’ closest competition. However, with a season as dominant as this, the Tigers are well on track to win the AUS for an eighth year in a row and contend for a national medal.
The Tigers have struggled to find consistent play this year. In November, they won 3-2 against Acadia, currently in second place in the AUS, and then the following game lost 10-0 against the first ranked University of New Brunswick Reds. One bright spot? The Tigers’ scoring strength isn’t reliant on a single line. Their top seven scoring leaders are all within a five-point range of each other. Currently in last place right now with a record of 5-18, playoffs are a stretch for the Tigers if they don’t show up for every game.
After a rough seven game losing streak in November, the women’s hockey Tigers are fighting for a playoff spot in the middle of the pack in the AUS. With six regular season games left at the time of writing, the Tigers’ schedule will make things interesting: in the remaining games, they’ll face every team in their conference except second place UPEI and the last place Mount Allison University Mounties.
Also notable: head coach Sean Fraser resigned in mid-December after nine seasons of leading the team; taking his place as interim head coach is Joe Johnston.
With each meet, it seems more likely that the Acadia Axemen will be taking home the AUS championship banner this year, breaking Dal’s 21 year winning streak. At the first invitational meet of the new year on January 18-19, the Tigers were outscored 851 to 491 by the Axemen. Top performers for the Tigers have been second-year Christian Payne and fourth-year Alec Karlsen, who have both posted U Sports qualifying times for their events.
The women’s team is having a strong season so far with at least seven U Sports qualifiers. Standing out has been third-year phenom Isabel Sarty, who at the Kemp-Fry invitational meet in November broke two AUS records: her time of 22.51 seconds in the 50 metre freestyle race beat her own record she set at last year’s AUS championships, and she swam the 100 metre freestyle in a time of 55.26 seconds, breaking the conference record she set last year at the Kemp-Fry meet.
Last season, the women’s team came 12th at U Sports nationals; this year we’ll see if they can improve that. First, though, are the AUS championships, taking place February 7-9 at the Dalplex.