Rick Scott says this year’s path to an Atlantic University Sport (AUS) championship will be unfamiliar, but the final destination should remain the same.
Dalhousie’s women’s volleyball team is coming off a dominant season that saw them place fourth at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championships and only lose one regular season game. But the team now has a new look, with only two players in their fourth year of eligibility or above. The rest have minimal experience competing in the AUS.
“When there’s change, it’s refreshing,” says Scott, who is returning for his seventh season as head coach of the Tigers. “It’s exciting, too. I’m really looking forward to the challenge with the young group.”
Scott, who was named Dalhousie University coach of the year the past two seasons and AUS women’s volleyball coach of the year in 2012/2013, says patience is required when entering a season with a young team.
“There’s going to be more of a learning curve,” he said. “It’s a big adjustment to go from high school club to university. Just the whole change of living on their own, school and the volleyball team.”
New first-year additions for the Tigers include Emma Ciprick, Mieke Dumont, Anne Krywitsky and Gabby Sakowicz. Alexandra Hudson, a fifth-year transfer student from the University of Toronto, also joins the team. Scott says the leadership dynamic Hudson brings is unique.
“[Hudson] brings a lot of experience and a lot of maturity,” said Scott. “She’s very calm, very smart, very composed. That really helps a younger group.”
Scott says second-years Anna Dunn-Suen and Julie Theisen will receive more playing time the Tigers this year compared to last.
“They’re really good players,” he said, “Last year we were really strong and they weren’t relied upon, but now they’re going to be ready to play bigger roles.”
The Tigers hosted the Russell Investments Invitational Volleyball Tournament from Sept. 26-28. The team went 3-1 over the weekend, beating Acadia, Moncton and Saint Mary’s, but lost to Memorial.
The team traveled to Montreal for their first Interlock Event from Oct. 24-26. They had a tough weekend, losing all four games they competed in. Cape Breton, Acadia and Saint Mary’s also lost all their matches to their Quebec counterparts.
Despite the recent blunder, Scott is confident the team will unite as the season progresses.
“I think we can be champions again,” he said. “I know it’s going to be a very competitive league and lots of work ahead, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Dal begins their regular season on the road, taking on the UNB Varsity Reds on Nov. 1, followed by the Moncton Aigles Bleus the next day. Their first home game is Nov. 15 against the Saint Mary’s Huskies.