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AUAA women's volleyball champs

Ruling the roost

(February 24, 2000, Gazette)

By David Sorensen

The Sea-Hawks women’s volleyball team may be undefeated and the new champs of the Atlantic Universities Athletic Association, but don’t tell coach Karen Murphy the season is over. She has her sights set on the CIAU championships, where she’ll lead the Sea-Hawks March 2-4 in Winnipeg.

“I tried to stress all year that this is where we’re going,” said Ms. Murphy, of the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union finals.

Still, Sunday’s AUAA championship victory over Université de Moncton in Antigonish, N.S. was a satisfying victory for coach and players.

“I was really proud of our aggressive play in the final,” said Ms. Murphy. “We played to win that match.”

And it wasn’t an easy road to the final. MUN was in tough in the semi-finals against Acadia, down two games to nothing before rallying to win the best of five 3-2.

Ms. Murphy blamed inactivity and, ironically, a raft of individual awards earlier in the day, for the slow start on Saturday.

At the AUAA awards luncheon, Sea-Hawk Susan Mosher was selected as the league’s MVP, teammate Melissa Oates was voted top defensive player at her position and Ms. Murphy was named AUAA Coach of the Year for guiding the Sea-Hawks to an 18-0 regular season record and a first place finish in the conference. Other award winners from Memorial included Cheryl Oldford, who was named a first team all-star, and Susan Penney, a second team all-star selection.

Ms. Oldford had previously been named Memorial’s nominee for the James Bayer Memorial Scholarship, awarded annually to the AUAA’s outstanding student-athlete.

With the awards fresh in their minds, the MUN women promptly dropped the first two games of their evening match 28-30 and 20-25 before rebounding to win the next three 25-15, 25-18 and 15-9.

“We were still in shock,” said Ms. Murphy. “It took us a while to get into it.”

When they did get going, not much slowed them down. The women swept the final three games of the semi before finishing Moncton three games to one in the final. Match scores on Sunday were 21-25, 25-17, 25-21 and 25-18. Ms. Penney and Ms. Mosher were selected as tournament all-stars while MUN’s only fifth year player, Jennifer Humber, was named tournament MVP.

For the women’s volleyball program, success should breed more of the same, said Ms. Murphy. And with only one graduating player from this year’s squad, Ms. Murphy is expecting more of the same next year.

Members of the team are: Susan Penney, Jennifer Humber, Claudia Baggs, Cheryl Oldford, Lynn Taylor, Angela Andrews, Alexandra Mackey, Deanne Hiscock, Nancy Newman, Melissa Oates, Kerri Green, Robin Upshall and Susan Mosher. Assistant coaches are Todd Martin and Cindy Walsh and the student manager is Laura Strong.