Mieke DuMont’s decision to come to Dalhousie University was a volleyball match made in heaven.

The Kamloops, B.C., native was looking for a university that offered a strong kinesiology program, a chance to live in another part of the country and a strong volleyball program.

Dalhousie checked all the boxes.

For coach Rick Scott, DuMont was another key building block for a program that was on the verge of becoming one of the most dominant in Atlantic University Sport history with seven straight championships.

In 2014 DuMont joined a Tigers team that had won the two previous AUS women’s championships.

A starter in all five of her years at Dalhousie, the outside hitter has amassed 819 kills and played a vital role in five more conference championships.

“(Dalhousie) was a great opportunity coming in position wise and the players that were graduating,” said DuMont, the Tigers’ captain. “What sealed the deal was the great team atmosphere when I came down here. All the players were super welcoming and it really made we want to join their team.”

DuMont said she couldn’t have imagined winning five straight titles.

“It’s a little surreal. I know in my first year it was a bit of a transition year so we were the underdogs going into it. And this year there was a little more pressure being my fifth and last year and our seventh (title) in a row.”

Scott says DuMont leadership goes beyond kills and digs.

“She leads by her actions more than her words,” said Scott, in his 11th year at the Tigers’ helm. “She’s a quiet person but she is a fierce competitor. She hates to lose and that kind of toughness and competitiveness has been really key for us.”

The Tigers will count on her leadership when they begin their quest for a U Sports championship on Friday in Edmonton.

Dalhousie enters the championship as the No. 4 seed and will play No. 5 Montreal Carabins (5:30 p.m. AT) in the quarter-final match.

The Carabins have won the RSEQ championship for the last five years and the teams are very familiar with each other.

The Tigers took a pre-season match from the Carabins in September.

“They are an amazing team,” said DuMont. “It is a little comforting knowing that we are a little more familiar with them. When we won this year it was at the beginning of the season and it went to five sets so you could see how close our teams are. It’s going to be an exciting match.”

Scott knows Montreal will a provide a tough challenge but it’s a match his team is ready for.

The Tigers feature several big-match players including two-time AUS player of the year Courtney Baker (Bridgewater) and first-team all-stars Julie Moore (Halifax) and Victoria Haworth (Waverley).

“We’re looking forward to the matchup,” said Scott. “We’re confident we can win that first-round game. We know it’s not going to be easy, nothing is, but we are going there to win.”

And winning is something the Tigers have done for most of the season. They opened the AUS season with 16 consecutive wins and reached No. 1 in the U Sports rankings.

But a two-week slump saw the Tigers lose two of their last four regular-season matches.

“It’s a long season and you are going to have those road bumps,” said Scott. “We were 16-0, had clinched first and we might have taken the foot off the gas pedal a bit. We wanted to rest some people to make sure we were healthy. Something I learned is, it doesn’t matter if you’re 20-0 or 18-2, you have to play well those last two days of playoffs.”

And the Tigers played very well in the AUS championship, sweeping Saint Mary’s in the semifinals and dropping UNB 3-1 in the final.

For DuMont, this weekend will be her last in a Tigers’ uniform and one last box to check. A national championship.

“That’s something I’m trying not to think about,” she said. “The AUS (championship) was my last game at the Dalplex and I feel like it hasn’t really sunk in. I’m trying not to think about that because I don’t want extra distraction this weekend. I’m sure at the end of the day it will be in the back of my mind. I’m hoping it ends in a positive way.”


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