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Playing volleyball with Tigers 'great experience,' says Yarmouth County native Alec Cottreau

Alec Cottreau of Plymouth, Yarmouth County, is a first-year commerce student at Dalhousie University, where he also is playing on the men's varsity volleyball team.
Alec Cottreau of Plymouth, Yarmouth County, is a first-year commerce student at Dalhousie University, where he also is playing on the men's varsity volleyball team. - Contributed

Alec Cottreau already had established himself as an elite volleyball player before he went to university, and now, as a member of the varsity men’s team at Dalhousie, he is experiencing another high-calibre level of volleyball.

Cottreau made the Dal roster after attending try-outs in early September and he has played a fair bit, more than he had expected heading into the Tigers’ season.

“I wasn’t supposed to get much playing time this year,” he said. “I was supposed to be more of a bench player, I guess, but we’re dealing with some injuries, so I’ve actually been getting quite a bit of playing time.”

In a late-November interview from Halifax, Cottreau had a chance to share some thoughts about the season to date.

“It’s been really good, actually,” he said. “It keeps me busy. The team’s good. We bond well, so that’s fun.”

Cottreau already knew a good number of the Tiger players prior to making the Dalhousie team, given his playing background and the Dal camps he’d attended.

As members of the RSEQ conference, the Tigers are on the road quite a bit. (RSEQ is, in French, Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec.)

“We’re playing against teams like Montreal, Laval, Sherbrooke, so there’s a lot of travelling,” Cottreau said. “The competition is very good.”

An 18-year-old from Plymouth, Cottreau has been a member of elite teams that represented Nova Scotia or the Atlantic region. He competed in the Canada Summer Games in 2017 and has taken part in various big tournaments, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Richmond, B.C.

In recognition of his various accomplishments in volleyball – a sport he started playing at age 13 – Cottreau was named Yarmouth County’s male athlete of the year in 2018.

He spent his junior and senior high school years at École secondaire de Par-en-Bas. In his first year of university, he is a commerce student.

Recalling the process whereby he ended up going to Dalhousie and earning a spot on the Tigers volleyball squad, he said, “I was in contact with the coach last year during high school season and we talked and we didn’t think I was quite ready yet to be a recruit, so then he invited me to open try-outs and I made (the team).”

Asked what it has been like trying to balance his academic responsibilities at Dal with his commitment to the volleyball program, he said it has worked out pretty well so far.

“At the start I thought it might be a challenge,” he said, “but we get a lot of extra help, like if we need help with tutors or studying.”

The coaching staff has been very helpful, he said.

All in all, he said, “It’s been a great experience, probably the best volleyball I’ve ever played. It’s good to play at a high level.”

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