For the past three years the Dalhousie Tigers and the Montreal Carabins have made a habit of meeting at nationals.
Two years ago, the Carabins knocked Dalhousie out of medal contention and that was a moment the Tigers never forgot.
In Friday’s second quarterfinal, the No.4 ranked Tigers got redemption and returned the favour by sweating the No.5 ranked Carabins (25-19, 25-23, 25-21) at Saville Community Sports Centre.
Sophomore outside hitter Julie Moore led Dalhousie with 13 kills and eight digs in the victory, while fourth-year right side hitter Adryanna Dorismond-Rodrigue led the Carbins with 10 kills and 17 digs in the loss.
“Montreal is a great team. We’ve played them a lot in nationals over the last few years and they’ve had our number,” said Tigers head coach Rick Scott. “We pulled away in the first set, but they kept coming and if we don’t close out that third set, who knows what would’ve happened. I’ve seen it too many times at nationals where teams come back from two sets down.”
Both teams battled back and forth in the opening set, but Dalhousie was much more crisp in the opening set and they took the first set with relative ease.
It was a different story in the second and third sets, as Montreal put forth a much stronger effort, and pushed Dalhousie. But in a battle of conference champions, the Tigers found ways to limit the Carabins from generating big boosts of momentum.
Sophomore outside hitter Victoria Turcot and fourth-year middle Lauren Koskowich made their presence felt in the second and third sets and provided Dalhousie with a different look offensively and defensively.
“I thought we showed some resiliency. They got up a couple times, but we clawed back,” said Scott. “One of the strengths of our team is our depth. We were down in the second and third set and (Turcot and Koskowich) came in and gave us a big spark and we hung in there and stayed with it.”
The RQEQ champion Carabins got off to a slow start in the quarterfinal and simply weren’t able to recover despite putting up a strong fight in the second and third sets.
“Hats off to Dalhousie, they played well. It’s disappointing because we had high aspirations, but that’s the nature of sports,” said Carabins head coach Olivier Trudel. “We made too many mistakes at unfortunate times.”
Montreal showed some life in the third set and jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead, and they looked to be in control in the third and gave themselves a chance to snatch a set win, but a service error from the Carabins and a service ace from Turcot opened the door for Dalhousie to walk through.
Their lead quickly disappeared and once the Tigers took a 14-13 lead, they didn’t look back.
“Our block was not that good. Everything they hit passed our block and usually we’re solid at the block. It gave them confidence, they could just swing away,” said Trudel. “We didn’t serve well enough today either and we’re going to have to serve better tomorrow.”
Dalhousie moves on to Saturday’s semifinal to face the UBC Thunderbirds at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT, while Montreal slides over to the consolation bracket to face the No.1-ranked Trinity Western Spartans - who lost to UBC – at 3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT
Players of the Game
- Dalhousie: Julie Moore
- Montreal: Alexe Gagne
As the Exclusive Volleyball Supplier of U SPORTS, Mikasa has reaffirmed its commitment to university sports in Canada and will provide match balls, as well as other prizing to the U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball Championship and the U SPORTS Women’s Volleyball Championship in 2019 and 2020.