By: Dalhousie Sports Information
This week’s Flashback Friday features the 2012-13 women’s volleyball team.
Roster: Raeesa Lalani, Hilary Sears, Maggie Li, Katherine Ryan, Abby Czenze, Tarah Truant, Marisa Mota, Jessica Josenhans, Marlee Powers, Petra Rafuse, Louise Facca, Rachel Wright, Tara Gowan, Brett Hasting, Amy Appleby
Staff: Rick Scott (Head Coach), Jon Elliott (Asst Coach), Patrick Murray (Asst Coach), Kris Andrew (Strength Coach), Devon Norris (Strength Coach), Blair Williams (Head Trainer), Adam Mayo (Asst Trainer), Mikayla Kuan Veng (Asst Trainer)
The Dalhousie Tigers women’s volleyball team had an excellent season with many highlights capped off with the AUS championship banner. The Tigers had 10 players return from last year’s team and five new faces in the program under fifth-year head coach Rick Scott.
In the first half of the season the team played in two exhibition tournaments and nine league matches. In September Dal hosted the third annual Scotiabank Invitational tournament. The Tigers went undefeated with victories over Memorial, Saint Mary’s, UNB and StFX to capture the tournament championship. Maggie Li was named the tournament MVP while Louise Facca and Tara Gowan were named to the tournament all-star team.
In October the team competed in the Queen’s Invitational where they had another strong performance to capture the tournament championship. Dal boasted a victory over Cape Breton, a loss to Ottawa and defeated the host Queen’s in the championship final. Maggie Li was named the tournament MVP and Louise Facca was named to the tournament all-star team.
The Tigers also competed in their annual exhibition scrimmage versus Acadia in Bridgewater, NS. The team received first-class treatment by the community and connected with local schools to promote Dalhousie’s women’s volleyball program.
Off the court, the team (led by Louise Facca), raised over $2,500 for Leukemia and Lymphoma during the Light Up the Night Walk for a Cure event on campus.
To kick-off the regular season the Tigers hosted the AUS-RSEQ Interlock at Dalplex. The team had a strong showing, recording wins over McGill and Sherbrooke and two hard-fought losses over perennial Top 10 CIS teams Montreal and Laval, including a thrilling five-set match, which Dal lost 16-14 in the final set. These early signs showed that the Tigers would be a top team this season.
Going into the holiday break the team had five straight wins over AUS opponents and a solid 7-2 record, which was good for first place in the AUS standings.
At the start of December, the women’s volleyball team, in partnership with the women’s basketball team, hosted their third annual Women in Leadership Spotlight Dinner featuring guest speakers and Dalhousie alumnae Karen Furneaux (Olympian) and Trish MacCormack (RCMP Inspector).
Over the break the Tigers travelled to San Diego, California for training and competition with the UBC Okanagan. It was an awesome trip with four days of excellent training with a strong Canada West team and left the team primed for the second half of the season.
The second half began with optimism as Dal was prepared for the playoff push. Without missing a beat, the team recorded nine consecutive wins without dropping a single set to finish first in the AUS conference with an overall 16-2 record. From the start of the season the Tigers were in the CIS Top 10 and made a steady climb in the rankings throughout the year to finish the regular season ranked third overall.
Going into the AUS championship at Memorial University as the No. 1 seed gave Dal a bye to the semifinals versus StFX. The Tigers claimed a 3-0 victory and Maggie Li received player of the game honours. The following day the Tigers faced Saint Mary’s in the championship final for the second straight year. Playing their best match of the season, Dal recorded a convincing 3-0 victory to claim their first AUS championship since 2004-05. Louise Facca was named the championship player of the game and an AUS tournament all-star, while Li was selected as the tournament’s most valuable player.
Next Dal headed to the CIS championship in Sherbrooke, Quebec, where they went in as the fifth seed matched up against Trinity Western. The Tigers lost in straight sets and Tara Gowan was named player of the game. Dal faced Laval the next day in the consolation semifinals and were defeated 3-1 in a very close match. Louise Facca earned player of the game honours in her last game as a Tiger.
Four members of the team were recognized for their outstanding individual performances this season. Louise Facca was named an AUS first team all-star and the AUS Erin Bursey Award winner for community service and leadership. She led the Tigers with 226.5 points (second in the AUS) and 180 kills (third in the AUS). Maggie Li was also named an AUS first team all-star and a CIS second team all-Canadian. Maggie led the Tigers with a .262 hitting percentage (fifth in the AUS), 34 aces (first in the AUS) and 64 blocks (fourth in the AUS). Hilary Sears, who led the Tigers with 491 assists (third in AUS), was selected as an AUS second team all-star and Rick Scott was selected as the AUS Coach of the Year.
The team had many positive highlights and showed significant improvement this season, proving to be the top team in the Atlantic conference, but also a top team at the national level. Next season Dal will continue to strive towards a CIS championship medal. Dalhousie has much to look forward to next season with many key players returning and such a strong core of young players and recruits.