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Tigers defeat Axewomen 3-1, advance to AUS final

Tigers defeat Axewomen 3-1, advance to AUS final

Source: Severin Golla, Acadia Athletics Communications

WOLFVILLE, N.S. - The No. 3 seeded Dalhousie Tigers will move on to the AUS Championship final after defeating the No. 2 seeded Acadia Axewomen in four sets  (23–25, 25–10, 25–16, 25–19) in semifinal action at the Stu Aberdeen Court this Wednesday, March 12. The Tigers showed their poise in front of the rabid Axewomen fans to earn a berth in the AUS championship best of three series against the No. 1 seeded Saint Mary's Huskies. 

Prior to the beginning of the match, Atlantic University Sport honoured its yearly award recipients. Taylor Collombin (Victoria, BC) won the AUS Most Valuable Player, as well as a spot on the All-Star first team. Further Acadia Award winners include Rebecca (Becky) Dorsey (Toronto, ON), Sydney Zakutney (Ottawa, ON), and Charlotte Dean (Mississauga, ON), who were all named to the AUS Allstar second team, as well as Erica Fisher (Middle Stewiacke, NS) who was named to the AUS All-Rookie first team. Dalhousie also had several players honoured, Julie Moore (Halifax, NS) and Victoria Turcot (Halifax, NS) were named to the AUS AllStar first team, Sarah Dawe (Mount Pearl, NL) was named to the AUS AllStar second team, Brett Boldon (Fredericton, NB) made the AUS All-Rookie first team, and Kate Fougere (Calgary, AB) won the Erin Bursey Memorial Student-Athlete Community Service Award.  

The opening set was a tight battle with the Axewomen staying on top to take a 25–23 game win. The Axewomen played through their MVP Taylor Collombin. Collombin finished with 14 kills, 16.5 points, 20 digs, and 2 blocks. Her performance also won her Acadia's Player of the Game award. She finished the season averaging an astounding 3.79 kills per set, the fourth most in U SPORTS. 

With a steady defense and electric offense leading them, the Tigers captured a lopsided second set 25–10 win. Grace Calnan (Dartmouth, NS) was a huge part of the Tigers' defense, finishing with 6 blocks to go with her 8 points. Her presence was felt not only when she was recording blocks, but also by forcing the Axewomen to hit around her, or not hit at all. 

The third set was a closer fight, but the Tigers took the momentum from their second set victory and pushed out to a 14-7 lead. A kill by Collombin closed the margin to 18-14, but the Tigers would eventually top the Axewomen 25–16. Setter Brett Boldon had an excellent game, scoring 6.5 points and adding 34 assists as well as 2 service aces to her ledger. 

The fourth and final set saw a slight return to form for the Axewomen, but the Tigers were not going to be denied and punched their ticket to the AUS Women's Volleyball Finals with a 25–19 set victory. 

Trailing 10-8 in the final frame, Sarah Dawe and Julie Moore recorded a kill each to tie the set at 10. 

The Tigers stalled at 20-15, allowing the Axewomen to creep back, but all would fail for the Axewomen, giving Dalhousie a 3-1 match win. 

Dawe's effort earned her the Subway Player of the Game honour. Dawe posted 15 timely kills and 14 digs. 

This marks the end of the season for the Acadia Axewomen, who will look to improve on their success in the 2022-23 season. The Tigers will go on to face the Saint Mary's Huskies who defeated the UNB Reds 3–2 (25–22, 26–28, 30–28, 23–25, 16–14) tonight. The Huskies will host the best of three AUS final series.