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Tigers claim 7th consecutive AUS title

Photo by Trevor MacMillan
Photo by Trevor MacMillan

Game recap by Kirk Jessome

(Halifax, NS) – Squaring off for the AUS women's volleyball championship, the UNB Reds took on the Dalhousie Tigers at the Dalplex on Saturday. After a hard fought four sets, the Tigers were able to claim their seventh-consecutive AUS title with a 3-1 win.

The Tigers got some great serving early from Libby Falkenham (Halifax, NS) with her float serve giving the Reds receivers trouble and forcing errors. Combine that with a few hard kills from Julie Moore (Halifax, NS) on the left, and the Tigers got out to a 7-0 lead quickly.

Putting together a run to cut down the deficit with a few big kills coming from Siobhan Fitzpatrick (Kelowna, BC) and Victoria Eadle (Gallagher Ridge, NB), but the Tigers were able to earn those points right back, going into the technical timeout up 16-7.

Starting to pull away in the set, the Tigers stepped up with some big defensive plays coming from Alyssa Harding (Toronto, ON) and Victoria Haworth (Waverly, NS) to go up 21-12.

The Reds were still swinging hard in the set, with Fitzpatrick hammering home a few more, but the lead was too much for them to come back from in the opening set. With a string of errors coming from the Reds, the Tigers were able to secure the 25-14 win.

This time the Tigers opened the set with tough serving from Haworth, as she picked up three aces in a row to help put the Tigers ahead 6-2 and force a timeout from the Reds. Fighting back immediately out of that break, the Reds defense forced the Tigers into errors, and a perfectly placed kill from Robyn Anderson (Fernie, BC) gave the Reds their first lead of the match at 8-7.

The Tigers communication on service receptions started to break down midway through the set, and the Reds took advantage with some nice kills from Eadle and Paige Lehto (North Vancouver, BC). A hard swing from Kristen Burns (Mississauga, ON) sailed wide for the Reds, and the Tigers took a 16-15 advantage into the technical break.

The teams battled back and forth late in the set, with an attack from Courtney Baker (Bridgewater, NS) going wide to force extra points at 24-24. With a big swing from Fitzpatrick going off the Tigers block and out of bounds, the Reds took the second set with a 26-24 win to tie it up at 1-1.

With a few swings from the Reds going wide, and Baker picking up a few kills, the Tigers once again opened the set well, getting out to a commanding 10-1 lead. The Reds got a few big blocks from Megan Kuciak (Ottawa, ON), but the Tigers built on their lead, going into the technical timeout at 16-5.

A string of tough serves from Lauren Koskowich (Calgary, AB) and the Tigers were making quick work of the third set, up 24-9, but the Reds refused to go away in the set with kills from Fitzpatrick and Burns. A final swing from Julie Moore caught a piece of a defender and sailed wide to give the Tigers the 25-12 win in the third set to take a 2-1 lead.

The teams battled early in the set, both teams swinging hard looking to take a lead. Fitzpatrick continued to get it done for the Reds while Victoria Haworth sent home a few massive kills and the Tigers took a 16-12 lead into the break.

Two kills from Moore and a big block from Baker and Haworth gave the Tigers a 21-16 lead, forcing a timeout from the Reds.

Just as it began, a big swing from Julie Moore was tipped off a defender and out of bounds, and the Tigers secured the AUS Championship banner with a 25-17 win in the fourth set.

Siobhan Fitzpatrick put together a fantastic performance in the championship match, finishing with 15 kills and 2 blocks. For the Tigers, Julie Moore led the way with 16 kills, and Libby Falkenham was named the player of the game for her performance from the service line, and some great defensive plays.

The AUS Championship All-Star team was announced at the completion of the match:

Regan Herrington – ACA

Sim Gill – SMU

Victoria Haworth - DAL

Mieke DuMont - DAL

Courtney Baker - DAL

Fitzpatrick – UNB

Paige Lehto – UNB 

Courtney Baker was also named as the Championship MVP.