Martlet Volleyball (8–4) hosted the Saint Mary’s University Huskies (2–2) on Oct. 11, losing in three sets. Despite close scores in every set—21–25, 21–25, and 30–32 respectively—the Martlets were unable to close out a single set against the punishing play of the Huskies.
In the first set, Saint Mary’s started strong, maintaining their lead throughout. However, the Martlets closed the 10–1 gap before giving up the set by four points. Despite a slow start, two kills from second-year middle blocker Charlene Robitaille picked up the pace for the Martlets.
McGill came out hot in the second set, maintaining a lead thanks to the dominant play of fourth-year hitter and captain Rowan Fletcher, fifth-year hitter Clare Nishikawa, and second-year Libero Catherine Vercheval. The trio continuously contested the Saint Mary’s attack, scoring repeatedly on blocks. The Martlets stayed persistent and narrowed Saint Mary’s lead to 19–18. They continued to compete and looked to have found their rhythm, but the Huskies ultimately pulled away, winning the set 25–21.
“We’re trying to make sure our serve-receive is more stable because when we started to pass well, the game was different,” Head Coach Rachel Béliveau said. “We do have to put more pressure when we are hitting; […] the difference between the two teams is that they can hit fast, and we are not as fast and powerful as they are [….] It is a good preparation for us.”
The crowd was on the edge of their seats for the entirety of the third set as the Martlets found themselves in a win-or-go-home situation. The home side put up another strong defensive performance and a lengthy late-game rally brought the best out of both teams, making for an exciting match with the score tied 28–28. An exceptionally executed kill was the decisive point in the Huskies’ win.
“I think it was our first game home so we needed some time to adjust,” fourth-year power hitter Elisabeth Perault said. “We really need to watch the middle on the other side, so we are going to make a new game-plan against that.”
Despite the loss, the Martlets put up a solid performance lead by impressive play from Fletcher and Robitaille. This game’s lineup saw many new players play exceptionally well, including first-year right-side hitter Clara Poire and first-year power hitter Victoria Iannotti.
The Martlets came back strong in a second match against the Huskies on Oct. 12, winning in straight sets to close out preseason play. They begin their regular season on Oct. 17 when they host Laval (7–5).
Moment of the Game:
Near the end of the third set, with the teams tied at 28–28, fifth-year middle blocker Myriam Robitaille hit an incredible kill down the heart of the Saint Mary’s defence to put McGill in the lead.
“We have a lot of new parts, so I think we need to work on the team chemistry together. I think that is what’s missing, […] knowing the girl who’s playing beside you, knowing whose responsibility it is to take the ball.”- Third-year hitter and captain Rowan Fletcher on where the team is looking to improve over the season.
The Oct. 11 game saw the return of fifth-year middle-blocker Myriam Robitaille after a year-long hiatus. It was a strong comeback, as she managed eight kills, one dig, three stuffed blocks, and a pair of assisted blocks in the match.