Courtney Baker and Victoria Haworth stepped on the court for one last regular season home game on Feb. 15. The two fifth-years on the Dalhousie University Tigers women’s volleyball team have been integral to the team’s success.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Baker, a setter. “I’m really grateful for the last five years that I had here, but I’m also excited for the future with volleyball and everything else my life brings to me.”
The seniors still have regular season games, the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) playoffs and possibly the U Sports national tournament left to play.
“It’s a pretty good feeling that I’ve made through my five years here,” said Haworth, a middle. “Obviously it’s sad and I don’t want to leave this place, but I guess I haven’t thought about it that much in my mind.”
The Tigers women’s volleyball team has won the last seven AUS championships, so the groundwork for their success was laid before Baker and Haworth arrived. They both stressed that head coach Rick Scott had built a strong program that they joined in 2015. They’ve been carrying that legacy forward. Baker was named to the AUS all-rookie team in the 2015-2016 season and in the three following seasons was an AUS first team all-star. She’s also played in international competitions throughout the years.
Haworth, likewise, has been a strong player in the conference, getting first team all-star recognition in the past two seasons.
The finals for the AUS championships in 2018 and 2019 were decided at the Tigers’ home court at the Dalplex. Those victories were among the players’ favourites.
“The last two were definitely a highlight,” said Baker. “Being at home, in front of our home crowd, family and friends made it a little bit more special,” she said. “And [we] got to celebrate it with the basketball team.”
In 2019, the Dalhousie University Tigers men’s basketball team was also crowned the AUS champion.
Secrets to success
The numerous conference championships and personal all-star accolades haven’t happened without hard work on and off the court, said the volleyball seniors.
“Every day, you get to be in the gym and put in a little extra work, if you can,” said Baker. Her extra efforts include making sure she’s prepared for each workout or video review session with the team.
That hard work is in the hopes of winning a national medal this season. A team mindset is also important, said Haworth.
“We are pretty lucky that we have a big team, a good team and a deep team,” said Haworth. “Everyone wants the best for every single person on the team.”
Leaving the Tigers
Once they’ve finished their last year of university eligibility, there was one thing both players said they’ll miss the most.
“I’ll definitely miss the family experience you get with our team and other players that you get to meet,” said Baker. “I think it’s really special.”
Haworth added that the team has been a support system during her years playing.
“I’ll definitely miss the family and all the people you can kind of fall back to if things aren’t going the right way, and having that special connection with everyone,” continued Haworth.
Upon the conclusion of her career as a Tiger, Baker hopes to pursue a professional career in volleyball. Haworth plans to continue her studies of medical sciences and engineering.