Dalhousie's Courtney Baker named MVP
(HALIFAX, N.S.) Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2018-19 AUS women's volleyball all-stars and major award winners as selected by the conference's six head coaches following regular season play.
Fourth-year Dalhousie Tigers setter and Bridgewater, N.S. native Courtney Baker was named the AUS most valuable player for the second season in a row at Thursday's awards banquet hosted by Dalhousie University at the Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax, N.S.
Other AUS major award winners announced were Saint Mary's Olivia Bell of Lahave, Ont., who earned the Kristen Ryan Memorial Award as the AUS rookie of the year; Saint Mary's Hannah Stienburg of Halifax, N.S., who received the Erin Bursey Memorial Award for student-athlete community service for the second consecutive season; and UNB Reds head coach Christine Biggs, who was named AUS coach of the year.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Courtney Baker, Dalhousie
Courtney Baker, a setter with the Dalhousie Tigers, has been named the AUS most valuable player for the second consecutive season.
A kinesiology student from Bridgewater, N.S., Baker finished fifth in the conference in both assists (357) and assists per set with 6.38.
A dynamic player, acting as both a setter and an attacker, she finished second in conference hitting efficiency (.368).
In her fourth season with the Tigers, she finished with 91 kills (1.63 kills per set), 22 service aces (0.39 service aces per set), and 130.0 points (2.3 points per set).
Baker appeared in 18 matches for the Tigers this season. The Dalhousie squad finished first in the AUS standings, losing just two matches all season for a 18-2 record.
In addition to being selected as the AUS MVP, Baker earned a place on the AUS first team all-star squad for the fourth consecutive year. Her career accomplishments also include having been named to the 2015-16 AUS all-rookie team in her freshman year with Dalhousie.
Baker is the sixth player from the Dalhousie Tigers to be named the conference's most valuable player. Former Tigers standouts Tara MacIntyre (1991-92, 1992-93), Christine Frail (1995-96), Jennifer Parkes (1997-98), Jilliane Goulet (2002-03, 2004-05), and Maggie Li (2013-14) also earned the honour.
She now looks to become the first AUS player to win the national player of the year award since Dalhousie's Karin Maessen took home the honour in 1981-82.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Olivia Bell, Saint Mary's (Kristen Ryan Memorial Award)
Saint Mary's middle Olivia Bell has been selected as the 2018-19 recipient of the Kristen Ryan Memorial Award as AUS rookie of the year.
Starting in 20 matches and playing in 68 sets for the Huskies this season, Bell finished with 180.0 points and 2.6 points per set.
The first-year science student had 146 kills on the season (2.15 kills per set).
This is the fifth time a player from the Huskies has earned AUS rookie of the year honours. Rachel Windhorst won the award for Saint Mary's most recently in 2013-14.
In 2013, this award was renamed in honour of former Cape Breton Capers player Kristen Ryan. A native of Port Hastings, N.S. and a five-year member of the CBU women's volleyball team, Ryan was a two-time Atlantic conference all-star and was named the AUS libero of the year in 2009-10. She passed away in 2012 following a motor vehicle accident.
Bell now becomes the AUS nominee for the Mark Tennant Award as U SPORTS rookie of the year. No Atlantic conference player has ever won the national award.
STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Hannah Stienburg, Saint Mary's (Erin Bursey Memorial Award)
For the second consecutive season, Saint Mary's Huskies fourth-year libero Hannah Stienburg is the 2018-19 recipient of the Erin Bursey Memorial Award, given to the women's volleyball student-athlete who best exhibits outstanding achievements in three areas: volleyball, academics and community involvement.
Stienburg, a commerce student from Halifax, N.S., played in 19 matches and 56 sets for the Huskies this season, finishing with 114 digs (2.04 digs per set).
In the classroom, she has maintained a cumulative GPA of 4.0 for the past three years and is on pace to be named an academic all-Canadian for the fourth time.
Her passion has allowed her to pursue many volunteering and fundraising opportunities throughout the course of her years at Saint Mary's University; while inspiring her surrounding community, students, and teammates.
She continues to head the Huskies Move for Inclusion program, a sports program which she created for youth in the community with intellectual and physical exceptionalities. This year, she has over 40 student-athlete volunteers and 25 kids who together create relationships through activities and sport during events planned throughout the year.
Last year, she organized Saint Mary's first MotionballU fundraiser, a fundraiser for Special Olympics Canada. It was a huge success raising $12,500 with 120 Huskies athletes participating, and was the most successful inaugural Motionball event at any Canadian university. She is currently organizing this years' MotionballU event planned for March, with the goal of raising $14,000. Her main objective is to create more relationships between Special Olympic athletes and Saint Mary's athletics.
For the third year in a row, Stienburg organized The Coldest Night of the Year walk, raising money and awareness for the homeless, walking 5km within the Halifax community.
Stienburg has built a relationship with the Ronald McDonald House, organizing multiple fundraisers, and in particular raising $950.00 to donate to the House this year.
As a member of SAMHI (Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative) she, along with the other members, raise awareness for mental illness in addition to raising money through school events.
As Athletic Council President, she has been involved in many initiatives such as the Saint Mary's Community Room Food Bank and Start2Finish.
In 2017-18, Stienburg won the SMUSA Miguel Emillien Memorial Award, which is awarded to an outstanding student-athlete who makes major contributions to the area of student affairs.
In addition to this, she is organizing a fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis in March, and is the head coach of both the Central Junior High boys' volleyball team and the under 12 girls Halifax Hurricanes team.
Stienburg is the first Saint Mary's volleyball player to earn the student-athlete community service award.
This award was renamed in honour of former Memorial Sea-Hawks student-athlete Erin Bursey. Bursey, a two-time CIS (now U SPORTS) academic all-Canadian and a captain with the Sea-Hawks women's volleyball team, passed away in 2012 following a pedestrian-vehicle accident in St. John's, N.L.
Stienburg now becomes the AUS nominee for the U SPORTS Therese Quigley Award.
Players from the Atlantic conference have received this award six times. Recipients include Acadia's Sarah Ross (2015-16), UNB's Paige Paulsen (2014-15), Memorial's Adrienne Penney (2013-14), Acadia's Lori-Beth MacEwen (2002-03 and 2003-04) and Mount Allison's Megan Toews (2001-02).
COACH OF THE YEAR: Christine Biggs, UNB
Christine Biggs, in her first year at the helm of the UNB Reds program, has been selected by her peers as the AUS coach of the year.
Under Biggs' leadership, the Reds finished with a 12-7 record and a third-place finish in the AUS standings to clinch a playoff spot in this year's AUS championship.
The successful season marked an incredible turnaround for the Reds squad who were winless through the 2017-18 season.
UNB finished the season with 15.7 points per set (good for second in the conference) and 11.33 kills per set.
Biggs will now represent the AUS as the nominee for U SPORTS coach of the year.
Dalhousie's Rick Scott earned the U SPORTS coach of the year award in the 2016-17 season, becoming the second AUS coach to ever win the national honour. Moncton's Monette Boudreau-Carroll was named CIS (now U SPORTS) coach of the year in 2007-08.
FIRST AND SECOND TEAM ALL-STARS AND ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
The Atlantic University Sport first and second team all-stars were also announced Thursday evening, along with this year's all-rookie team.
First Team All-Stars:
Julie Moore, Dalhousie (2nd year – Halifax, N.S.)
Lucy Glen-Carter, Acadia (2nd year – Toronto, Ont.)
Victoria Haworth, Dalhousie (4th year – Waverley, N.S.)
Victoria Eadle, UNB (3rd year – Gallagher Ridge, N.B.)
Bethany Smith, Saint Mary's (2nd year – Moncton, N.B.)
Courtney Baker, Dalhousie (4th year – Bridgewater, N.S.)
Siobhan Fitzpatrick, UNB (5th year – Kelowna, B.C.)
Second Team All-Stars:
Lauryn Renzella, Acadia (4th year – Stouffville, Ont.)
Emilla Conlon, Saint Mary's (4th year – Dartmouth, N.S.)
Pascale Doiron, Moncton (4th year – Caraquet, N.B.)
Maggie McLenahan, UNB (5th year – Oromocto, N.B.)
Lindsay Donovan, Saint Mary's (4th year – London, Ont.)
Regan Herrington, Acadia (4th year – Georgina, Ont.)
Mieke DuMont, Dalhousie (5th year – Kamloops, B.C.)
Joanie Arseneault, Moncton (Tracadie-Sheila, N.B.)
Olivia Bell, Saint Mary's (Lahave, Ont.)
Libby Falkenham, Dalhousie (Halifax, N.S.)
Renee Cleveland, Saint Mary's (Saint-Martin, N.S.)
The 2019 Subway AUS Women's Volleyball Championship is being hosted by Dalhousie University March 1-2 in Halifax, N.S. The schedule is as follows: (seeding in brackets)
Friday, March 1
Semifinal #1: Saint Mary's (4th) vs. Dalhousie (1st), 4:30 p.m.
Semifinal #2: UNB (3rd) vs. Acadia (2nd), 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 2
Championship Match: 7 p.m.
All games of the AUS championship will be webcast at AUStv.ca.
The AUS champion will advance to the 2019 U Sports Women's Volleyball Championship being hosted by University of Alberta in Edmonton, A.B., March 15-17.