On Nov. 10, the McGill Martlet volleyball team (5-1) soundly defeated the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees (2-5) in straight sets. The Martlets’ commanding offence was too much for the Gee-Gees, propelling McGill to a quick victory.
McGill came out strong and maintained a lead across all three sets. The Martlets repeatedly dug balls up and hit well against their opponents. Second-year Claire Vercheval praised the team’s consistent, solid performance.
“We applied the game plan right from the get-go,” Vercheval said. “We didn’t start slow, and we really played our own game.”
The first set was a close contest. McGill maintained a lead for the majority of the stanza, but Ottawa managed to close the gap near the climax of the set. In response, the Martlets made effective use of their timeouts to remain calm and focused, winning the first set 25-23. Martlets Head Coach Rachele Beliveau highlighted the stretch as a key moment of the game.
“Volleyball is a game of concentration and momentum,” Beliveau said. “So [by] stopping the momentum from the time out, refocusing on our side, [we could] go back and play the game.”
McGill dominated the remaining two sets, winning 25-15 and 25-20. Over all three, McGill’s offence was lethal. Vercheval led the attack with 13 kills, and was particularly dangerous for the Martlets, scoring points from both the front and back rows.
Fourth-year setter Thara Dawoodjee explained that any time Ottawa’s offence heated up, McGill shut them down quickly.
“We were just confident in our abilities so we were able to side-out really fast,” Dawoodjee said. “If they went on a run, we were able to just kind of snap [their] streak and get back and side-out.”
Solid defensive play further supplemented the Martlet offence. Libero and graduate student Marjolaine Ste-Marie led the team with eight digs, while second-year Rowan Fletcher, who led McGill with three blocks, shut the door on the Ottawa attack at key moments in the game.
Despite the strong showing, the team still has progress to make.
“There’s still a lot of things to work on,” Beliveau said. “We don’t play [a] perfect game yet [….] Certainly we’re going to keep working on defence, which was one of our weakest skills, [and] we want to keep a good offence and keep working on it.”
On Nov. 12, the Martlets faced off against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or, defeating them 3-1. The team’s next home game is on Nov. 24 against the Vert et Or.
Moment of the game
At match point in the first set, second-year Rowan Fletcher stuffed an Ottawa hitter with a monster block to win the set for the Martlets.
Despite a 42-26 deficit in total digs across all three sets, the Martlets outscored the Gee-Gees in both kills (36-24), and total points (48-34).
“When you try to jump in the air, you really try to look [where defenders’] hands are [.…] When the ball comes to me, it’s like ‘okay [their] hands are there’ and I’m going to go over there.” – Second-year power hitter Claire Vercheval, on her approach to hitting the ball.