Sunday April 20, 2014

DuMont decides on Dalhousie

Local volleyball star headed to Halifax
Murray Mitchell

Mieke DuMont sports a Dalhousie University hoodie.

For Kamloops' Mieke DuMont, it was important to go away to get the true university experience.

Well, she couldn't have gone much further.

DuMont, 17, will be graduating from South Kamloops secondary at the conclusion of this school year and will continue her education while studying sciences at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

And upon her arrival, the Titan will become a Tiger, trading in her yellow and black South Kam gear for the remarkably similar gold and black of Dalhousie.

DuMont was offered a full academic scholarship to play volleyball for the Tigers and jumped at the opportunity to join one of the east coast's strongest teams.

"Mainly it was the coach (Rick Scott) and the team that really made it comforting there," DuMont said Wednesday. "He seems very competitive and just has a style that I like to play under."

Dalhousie certainly has a competitive program - it's the defending Atlantic University Sport champion and has 18 conference championships in more than 30 seasons.

With nine games in the books in the 2013-14 season, the Tigers are 5-4 and sit in second place in the AUS standings. One of the other schools DuMont considered, Halifax's Saint Mary's University (she made visits to McGill, Dalhousie, Ottawa and St. Mary's), is 6-3 and leads the AUS.

And while it was important to the 6-foot-0 outside hitter that she be a part of a competitive program, DuMont said more important was that she "fit" with her teammates and play at a school where she felt she could fill a role - in Dalhousie she has found that.

She knew following her trip to the campus in August, when she got a glimpse of what life would be like at the Atlantic locale.

"It was really nice because I got to meet six of their players," she said. "They really set off a good vibe and they're people I could see myself hanging out with."

DuMont will have the opportunity to compete for a starting job with the Tigers, but more likely she's looking at grabbing a spot down the road. She knows that there are a few parts of her game that she needs to work on, but believes she has the ability to make the jump from high school to CIS volleyball.

"It will definitely be a lot different, because you're going up against bigger players," she said. "I feel like defensively I'll be fine going out there, and offensively I just need to work on a few more shots but it shouldn't be that hard of a transition."

Despite being a three-sport athlete for South Kamloops - volleyball, basketball, soccer - there was never any doubt with DuMont. Since the early days of her childhood, she knew her future involved volleyball.

"When I'm playing, it's the same," DuMont said, of her love for both volleyball and basketball. "Volleyball, my passion really started for it in the summer of Grade 9 when I played for Team B.C. for the first time. So playing at that higher level really showed me how much I really enjoy the sport."

DuMont was a provincial first-team all-star in leading the Titans to a third-place finish at the B.C. AAAA volleyball championship in Penticton on Nov. 30.

DuMont said she was sad when her time with the Titans volleyball program came to an end - it was a close-knit group of girls, coached by her mother, Kathy - but she's ready for the next chapter in her sporting career. She's excited, though just a little nervous.

"It's getting more set in stone and now I don't have the pressure of needing to find a place to go next year," she said, "but it's also a little nerve-wracking, knowing that I'm going across the country."

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