Despite a tie for second place in the division standings, McGill Martlets (13-6) pulled off a dominant, lopsided win against Sherbrooke Vert et Or (12-7) Saturday night, cruising to a 3-0 sweep on the heels of Friday’s loss against the first-place Montreal Carabins (17-3) .
Senior setter Yasmeen Dawoodjee’s electrifying performance began with two aces at the start of the game—the Martlets rarely looked back after that, taking the first set by a commanding 25-15 margin. Head Coach Rachele Beliveau said that their dominant start, though punctured by a short, shaky period of Sherbrooke dominance, set the team up for success in the rest of the game.
“We started very good, but then we had a little bad sequence,” Beliveau said. “I think the thing is you just keep going, keep going, keep going, and then the ball started to go for us, and we started to relax.”
This resilience was evident throughout the game, particularly at the beginning of the second set—the Martlets trailed slightly before taking an 11-10 lead, and eventually pulled off a 25-18 win. Despite Sherbrooke’s early lead, McGill’s aggression and energy paid off, and the team broke through thanks to strong individual performances by Dawoodjee, as well as power hitters sophomore Emilie Matte de Grasse and senior Catherine Amyot.
“I think they [Sherbrooke] had a tough game last night, and I think they opened the door for us,” Beliveau said of her team’s dominant performance, which ended with a 25-16 win in the final set. “We were really aggressive on the court. When we play like this, we are really good and hard to beat”.
Beliveau’s lofty praise for her team comes in the wake of a weekend double-header against two strong conference rivals in Montreal and Sherbrooke—two teams that will likely comprise the Martlet’s toughest competition in the playoffs, which begin on Feb. 19. The win against Sherbrooke was a crucial play in what is sure to be an intense, close-fought battle for second place going into semi-finals.
For Beliveau this win speaks more to the team’s abilities and goals going forward than does the previous loss against Montreal. Nonetheless, McGill and Sherbrooke are relatively far from both first place Montreal and fourth place Laval—these standings will ensure that all of McGill’s remaining games have playoff implications.
“I think our goal is, if we still have a chance to be first we’ll work at it, but our second goal is we just want to have home court advantage,” Beliveau said.
“The girls are working hard, and they deserve what is happening. We are putting in a lot of training—court training, gym training, weight training—and they are working for what they get.” —Beliveau of her team’s recent success and training regimen
The Martlets had 10 aces to the Vert et Or;s 5.
Play of the game:
The final set began with a long, aggressive rally between the two teams, tied 1-1, and the Martlets pulled out a point after a minute of close calls and electrifying keep-ins thanks to good communication and team resilience. The Martlets would go on to dominate every aspect of the final set thereafter, winning 25-16.