The Dalhousie Tigers have had little trouble winning 23 straight Atlantic University Sport men’s volleyball titles, but national success has been harder to come by.
They’ll renew their quest for a medal finish starting Friday at 11 p.m. against the Manitoba Bisons at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship in Edmonton.
Dal has three fourth-place finishes in nine national appearances since Dan Ota took over as head coach.
“We’ve definitely had teams that could win that bronze-medal match, but it’s tough,” Ota said. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to beat some very good teams to win.
“One of these years we will definitely break through and get a medal, and perhaps this will be the year.”
Fourth-ranked Dal (16-2) has not played fifth-ranked Manitoba, which finished second in Canada West at 10-8.
“We don’t know a lot about them and vice versa, so it will be an interesting matchup without any history,” Ota said.
The Tigers were forced to retool after the graduation of three-time AUS MVP Niklas Rademacher. Dan Murray returned at the end of the first semester for a fifth season and won playoff MVP, while third-year outside hitter Sander Ratsep and middle blocker Max Burt attained all-star status for the first time.
“The young guys have blossomed and done a great job stepping up and (Murray) has been outstanding,” Ota said.
“It’s been remarkable the progress these guys have made and if we play at our best, we’ll be in good shape.”