WAVERLEY: Tori Haworth is looking forward to competing with her Dalhousie Tigers women’s volleyball team as they look to improve on their fifth place finish at last year’s U Sports national championships.
The middle blocker, who calls Waverley home, expects this year’s event to be a little more settled than a year ago when as a rookie things were moving at a fast pace with many new experiences, including how to manage it all.
The Tigers won their fifth straight AUS title this month to punch their ticket to the nationals in Toronto March 16-19, hosted by Ryerson University at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Haworth said she’s been fortunate to be a starter in her two years with the Tigers. Due to nerves, injuries and inexperience, she isn’t quite sure she fully appreciated what winning the title last year meant. This year she did.
“It felt very rewarding to win the AUS title again this year,” said Haworth as the team ready to leave for the nationals. “Since we have three fifth year players and one fourth year player who have won the AUS title every year they have played retiring this year I really tried to appreciate the moment as much for them as myself.
“It would be awesome to accomplish what they have and I hope our team continues the drive to get there.”
Playing in Toronto is a special moment for Haworth for a couple reasons—not the least of which is playing in the former home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Also my older sister, Sarah, now lives in Toronto so I get to see her and she will finally get to see me play live at the varsity level,” she said. “But more important the win means that all the hours spent in regular season play and in tournaments – hours spent skills training, doing fitness conditioning, early morning practices, travel, missed classes, trying to do school work on a bus or plane, limited social life, injuries, ice packs and sore muscles have paid off.”
In 2016, Haworth had the misfortune of breaking a finger in mid January and subsequent surgeries to make sure it healed properly kept her off the court for six to eight weeks, pushing herself to be back in time for the AUS championship at Acadia.
“The fact that at this year’s tournament I was in good health definitely made the tournament a better one for me personally and I felt like I was able to play an important role in helping the team be successful,” said Haworth.
She said there are pros and cons to coming from the AUS region, and those are reinforced when they get to national championships.
“We have an opportunity to participate, that not a lot of other teams get in regions where there is a higher population base but sometimes that also means we aren’t challenged as much as we should be during our regular season,” she said. “When we train we always keep these teams in mind. They really are the best players and teams Canada has to offer.”
Haworth said while the Tigers had an almost perfect season their one loss to Memorial University benefitted them in the long run.
“When you continue to win games it becomes easy to become complacent so our coach sometimes has to remind us that we can’t ease up,” said Haworth. “Winning also puts a target on your back and I think other teams in the conference work even harder when they play us. Losing sometimes helps to put things into perspective and although it would have been nice to have had a perfect season our one loss was useful in helping us refocus and prioritize.”