ST. JOHN’S, NL: With a ticket to the U Sport national women’s volleyball championships later this month punched, the Dalhousie Tigers can’t slack off and have to work on staying prepared for a bigger venue.
That’s how Waverley’s Tori Haworth is looking at things two days after the Tigers captured their sixth AUS women’s volleyball championship—and her third—with a five set victory over Acadia at Memorial University in St. John’s, NL.
“We have to continue to train hard, work on our fitness, eat healthy, and stay well so that we can be at our best in mid March,” said Haworth on March 5. “This will be the first trip to nationals for a couple of our starters so we will have to make sure that everyone is prepared.”
The Lockview High alum had five kills and five digs in the championship final against Acadia.
Haworth said it feels amazing to win another AUS title. Considering they lost four senior players from last years squad, rookies—all from NS—stepped right into the lineup and contributed.
“We came together and jelled quickly as a team and everyone worked really hard both in practices, committing to conditioning, and helping each other out both on and off the court,” she said. “It paid off with a really successful season (19 wins, 1 loss) and finally winning the AUS title in St. Johns this weekend.
“To me this means that if you work hard to obtain a goal it can pay off. Sounds simple but it takes everyone’s effort in a team sport like volleyball but you can’t beat the feeling of winning together.”
She said meeting Acadia in the final didn’t come as a surprise for the Tigers as they have a lot of talented and competitive players on the squad. She praised their efforts.
“We all knew they have been working this year hard and Michelle Woods their coach has also put in lots of effort to develop her team,” said Haworth. “You could see a big improvement in the team and how they played at the start of the season until now.
“Sometimes being an underdog is an advantage in this kind of a situation and we knew they were going to come on strong and not let up. It took us five sets to beat them so I respect how they played in that final game.”
Haworth said the season is a long one, but each of the three titles she has won with Dal has been special. She wanted to win this year for the team’s captain, who was unavailable to play due to an injury that prevented her from travelling with the team.
“Each of the three titles is special though because the make up of the team has always been different,” she said. “This year I especially wanted to win it for our captain (and my roommate) who was sidelined at the last minute. I’m hopeful now that we have bought her an opportunity to have enough time to recover and play with us again at nationals.”
She said the team has to stay positive as they play at nationals.
“I think we also have to keep reminding ourselves that we deserve to be there and that we have what it takes to be competitive and that the Canadian championship is within our reach,” Haworth said.
The U Sport women’s volleyball nationals are March 16-18 in Laval, Quebec.