This week's Throwback Thursday is taking a look back at 2012/13 men's volleyball team. Check out their season recap below!
The 2012-13 Tigers faced a daunting challenge of replacing 11 players from the previous season, including all of their senior players. Returning only two starters from the team that won the 2012 AUS championship, a young and inexperienced Dal squad ventured into the new season.
The year started out with a pair of exhibition losses against reigning CIS bronze medallists Manitoba. Combined with a 1-2 record at the first Quebec interlock in Montreal, the Tigers headed into conference play. A split against UNB followed by a sweep on the road against Memorial showed that the squad was making progress throughout the semester. The fall term concluded with the second Quebec interlock at Laval where the team went 2-1 to finish the semester in first place in the AUS - surprising many in the process.
Not satisfied with their fall results, the young squad prepared for an eight-match trip that would take them through tournaments in Kamloops, BC and Calgary, AB after Christmas. Unfortunately, a severe snowstorm stranded most of the team in various airports across the country as they were attempting to fly to Kamloops. The Tigers arrived at their destination a full day into the tournament and were forced to forfeit their first two matches. The team was in rough shape for the remaining matches on the second day of the event, losing both matches badly. The squad regrouped for the next tournament at Mount Royal, and showed better signs on the court. Going 1-3 in the round-robin format, the Tigers had an opportunity to try different lineup combinations throughout the event.
As the winter term began in January, weather continued to play a factor in the schedule, as a home weekend against Memorial was postponed due to another severe storm. The Tigers next competition was the final interlock tournament hosted at Dalplex. The team battled to two marathon five-set wins over Sherbrooke and Montreal, before running out of gas against CIS No. 3 ranked Laval.
Showing that their results in the fall were no fluke, the first-place Tigers travelled to UNB for a crucial league weekend, where they needed a split to help secure first place in the standings. They were able to earn the split in front of a hostile UNB crowd and then wrapped up first place in their final league weekend against Memorial. The young squad featuring 12 players who were new to the program achieved an impressive 11-6 league record, with three of the losses coming against eventual national champion Laval.
Next up was the AUS championship and the opportunity to secure a trip to nationals. Unfortunately, the Tigers picked the worst time to have an off weekend, losing to second place UNB in the series.
Despite the bitter finish to the season, the Tigers showed that they would be a team to be reckoned with as the young squad surprised almost everyone with their performance over the course of the season. Bryan Duquette, Alex Dempsey and Connor Maessen were named as AUS all-stars - each in their first full seasons as starters, and Dan Ota was named AUS Coach of the Year. Duquette was also named a CIS Second Team All-Canadian.
Two players are graduating from the program after only one season with the team - Rob McCulloch, who has been a star on the track and field team for five years; and Carsten Moeller - an international exchange student from Brisbane, Australia, who was the team’s starting setter for the second half of the season.
Several important individuals made major contributions to the program. Russ Lawrence, Eugene Tan and Andrew Ling all returned as assistant coaches and mental training coach respectively. Kara Dafoe, Chrissie Terry and Justin Gorges shared training duties. Devon Norris handled strength and conditioning duties for the team this season.