a, Sports

Martlets extend undefeated streak in five-set thriller

After going undefeated on an extended road trip to start the RSEQ season, the McGill Martlets pushed their winning streak to five in a tight home opener at the Love Competition Hall against Laval on Friday. Victory over the Rouge et Or—who also entered the match undefeated—confirms McGill’s return to form after a disappointing 2012-2013 season in which they went  8-12  and missed the playoffs.

The match was pushed to five suspenseful sets, after the Martlets gave up a 25-22 first set victory by losing the next two to Laval, 18-25 and 19-25, respectively. However, McGill bounced back to tie it up in the fourth set thanks to a strong team performance, posting 10 kills, and a hitting efficiency of .292. This stood in stark contrast to the Rouge et Or’s fourth set hitting percentage of .029. The Martlets finished off the match 15-10 to mark just the 13th time in regular-season play that McGill has defeated Laval.

The game featured a highlight performance on both sides of the ball from veteran Middle Blocker Virginie Hebert. She registered seven kills on 19 attacks and had a huge impact on the court. She also laid down six blocks and four assisted blocks, and finished the game with a team-leading 15 points. Being in her final year, this season marks Hebert’s last opportunity to help the Martlets claim the RSEQ title.

“Virginie has improved every one of her four years […] since she came to us from College Lionel-Groulx […] and will be a big part of our team this year,” Head Coach Rachele Beliveau explained.

The team’s recent success comes in a season that could have been written off as a rebuilding year. The team lost setter Marcela Mansure—who held the position for five consecutive years—to graduation. However, third-year setter Yasmeen Dawoodjee has proven all season to be a capable replacement. In Friday’s game, the Ottawa native posted a resounding 37 assists and 13 digs.

“Yasmeen has been improving a lot after playing more regularly,” Beliveau said. “Following Marcela is a big step and [Yasmeen] will learn, and we have confidence; […] but we need to be patient, we can’t put all the pressure on her to do what Marcela was doing right away.

Although it is still quite early, the Martlets have shown a strong balance of veteran leadership and team chemistry to challenge for the RSEQ title this season. After their bronze medal showing at Nationals two years ago, McGill hopes to ompete with perennial powerhouses Montreal and Laval once more, which is undoubtedly a tough task.

“Every game we play is going to be a solid fight. Our approach is that we’re going to take each game one by one and prepare as much as we can for the games we play,” Beliveau said. “It will be challenging, but fun.”

The Martlets are back on the road on Friday Nov. 8 against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or with the intent of keeping their streak alive, before traveling to Quebec City on Nov. 10 for a return matchup with Laval. McGill currently sits in a tie with Montreal for first place in the RSEQ, with 10 points apiece.

Share this:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Read the latest issue

Read the latest issue