On Nov. 2, the McGill Martlets (5-0) won in three sets against their crosstown rival Université de Montréal (UdeM) Carabins (4-1) and took their fifth consecutive victory in front of a crowd of nearly 300 fans. With the win, they stayed atop the RSEQ and cemented their number six spot in the U Sports national rankings.
After dropping the first set 25-18 and narrowly winning the second set 25-23, the Martlets dominated the third 25-15.
“We know that the Carabins are a really offensive team,” third-year power hitter Claire Vercheval said. “We knew that we would have to be patient […] and do our own thing […], and that worked.”
Defence was vital in the win. Vercheval, fifth-year power hitter Emilie Matte De Grasse, had nine digs and fourth-year libero Lea-Marie Duguay had eight digs for the game. First-year middle blocker Charlene Robitaille led McGill with four blocks throughout the evening.
Matte De Grasse, who scored a Martlet-high 11 points, noted that their teamwork was a deciding factor.
“Today, we showed up as a whole team and worked really well together,” Matte De Grasse said. “We were really ready for it today.”
Vercheval had nine points of her own, with six kills and two aces. She agreed that team chemistry played a significant part in the win.
“We really worked as a team and really concentrated on trying to bring all of our skills [together],” Vercheval said. “[We didn’t want] to be individuals on the court.”
Beyond teamwork, McGill Head Coach Rachele Beliveau also emphasized the development of many of the Martlets.
“The majority of the group are only third-years, and, when they came in, they had a lot of potential,” Beliveau said. “They are getting better and better, and, hopefully, we can keep improving.”
With 14 games left in the season, the Martlets will look to keep improving and extend the winning streak as the season progresses.
“[We need to] improve decision making,” Beliveau said. “It’s getting better, and we saw some good digs tonight. Staying sharp on the game plan and knowing when to execute [is also important], and we’re always working on skills.”
Matte De Grasse also emphasized the mental component of their game.
“We’re [working on] our attitude and how we show up on the court,” Matte De Grasse said. “We know we have the skills to win, so we want to build a consistent team that plays well together to be able to go to nationals.”
Moment of the Game:
The Martlets came out firing in the final set, taking the first five points. They went into the technical timeout with a lead of 16-4, and won the set 25-15.
“We knew there were going to be big plays and that they would be strong, but we had to do our own thing on our own side, and we knew it was going to work.” – Claire Vercheval on how the team’s mentality affected play.
McGill’s 33 kills dominated the Carabins’ 21.