Sports, Volleyball

Martlets volleyball claims victory in rematch against Sherbrooke Vert et Or

On Nov. 27, McGill Martlets volleyball (6–2) extended their winning streak to four games following a home victory over the Sherbrooke Vert et Or (4–6). The Martlets previously matched up against the Vert et Or in their season opener on Oct. 30, where they ultimately lost 3–2. Hoping to redress their opening defeat, the Martlets were fired up for a second shot. 

“We were a lot more confident going into the game today,” first-year power hitter Rachel Leduc told The McGill Tribune. “We know that we can beat them, so we actually played the way we know that we can.”

The Martlets kickstarted their first set with a service ace by third-year outside hitter Masha Solaja. However, Sherbrooke played hard defence by forcing McGill’s libero, Catherine Vercheval, to dive for her digs. A combination of sharp cut shots from power hitters Leduc and co-captain Victoria Iannotti as well as compounded Sherbrooke errors allowed McGill to pull away with a 25-22 score and take the set. 

The second set was similarly sparked by the Martlets’ efforts, this time by a set of blocks from Leduc and middle blocker Meaghan Smith. Steadfast McGill defence was the order of the day as the Martlets repeatedly shut down Sherbrooke’s scoring attempts. 

Leduc told the Tribune about their preparations for Sunday’s game.

“This week, our coach [shook us a bit] and said ‘girls we have to pick it up on defence’,” Leduc said. “We popped off every single practice and everyone was giving their 110 per cent. Today we really brought that into play.” 

The Martlets finished the second set leading with a demoralizing score of 25-15, punctuated by phenomenal defensive efforts from fourth-year power hitter Clara Poire, co-captain Charlene Robitaille, Leduc, and Smith. 

The third set marked another sensational opening run from McGill, as Iannotti and fourth-year setter Audrey Trottier combined for a deadly combo of a clinical attack, a double block, and a service ace to start the set 3-1. Sherbrooke, however, turned it up on their end, forcing mistakes from McGill by bending the Martlets’ defence out of shape to take the lead. Both sides were neck and neck heading down the stretch, with McGill climbing back to match Sherbrooke with stunning serves from third-year Olivia Krishnan and Smith. Despite their second-year setter Charlotte Chouinard-Laliberté’s efforts, Sherbrooke took the set with a tight 26-24 score to hang on. It looked as though the Vert et Or might finally be back in the game, but the Martlets said, not today.

“Our team makes a conscious effort to have a positive attitude,” Iannotti told the Tribune. “[With] volleyball being a game of errors, you cannot get caught up in the past. You have to snap out of it really fast.”

Sherbrooke carried their momentum over to begin the fourth set, but were met with staunch defence as McGill pulled from their energy reserves to finish the game. In the dying moments of the set with the score at 24-23 for the Martlets, a nail-biter rally culminated in co-captain Robitaille taking a hard receive to the head and hitting the deck briefly before getting back into the exchange. Iannotti stepped up and delivered the final blow. 

The Martlets will close out the semester at home on Friday, Dec. 2 against the Ottawa Gee-Gees (2–7) before resting over the winter holidays. 

Moment of the Game: In the final seconds of a frantic fourth set, Victoria Iannotti chased down a setup to crush the Sherbrooke defence and win the game with a commanding spike. 

Stat Corner: Meaghan Smith dominated on the front lines with two solo blocks and six additional block assists.  

Quotable: “When the ball gets up […] whichever way that ball goes will bring a lot of momentum to the team [….] I was like every single time I’m touching the ball in this rally I’m giving it my all to close or set someone else up to close [….] It was time to finish the game.” –– Co-captain Victoria Iannotti on the final rally of the game

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