Volleyball: Martlets dominate AUS in three opening weekend victories

McGill Martlets

UNB Varsity Reds

The McGill Martlet volleyball team (3-0) dominated the UNB Varsity Reds (1-4) in all three sets this past Saturday (25-8) (25-14) (25-17). The Martlets went into their third AUS game of the year with an undefeated record and outplayed the Varsity Reds throughout, only allowing UNB to take the lead for a few brief moments early on into their third set. Captain Yasmeen Dawoodjee maintained control of the team throughout the match, serving up three aces and 31 assists. Dawoodjee was recently named MVP of the Martlet Invitational Volleyball Tournament after leading the Martlets to their first tournament win on their home court since 1997.

“[Dawoodjee] has been progressing a lot from Year 1 to now,” Head Coach Rachele Believeau said. “She’s starting to understand the real job of a setter and is really controlling the game. It’s unfortunate that she’s already done five years, but hopefully we can maintain the rhythm through the whole season.”

While McGill held back any real challenge from UNB during the first set, a series of unforced errors in the second set allowed UNB to sneak in nearly double the points. Dawoodjee kept her team by spreading the ball around—she incorporated multiple back sets and showed off excellent chemistry with sophomore middle hitter Myriam Robitaille on looparound.

“There are some [plays] that are prepared before, how we are going to react in certain situations, this is all prepared before,” said Beliveau. “However it’s still a game day, you cannot predict everything that’s going to happen, so we have to react quickly, especially when the rallies are long.”

McGill has not faced any RSEQ teams at this point in the regular season, having played only AUS teams. Though the RSEQ has been consistently stronger than the AUS, in recent years UNB and the like have been perfecting their skills, and just a few hours prior to their face off against McGill the Varsity Reds defeated the Laval Rouge et Or(3-1) 3-2.

“In the past sometimes we underestimate them and then we got caught,” explained Beliveau. “You lost one game and then you have to carry that loss all year, so the challenge now for all the Quebec teams is to not lose. It’s not trying to win matches, it’s trying to not lose matches.”

Additionally, this year comes with the addition of UQAM’s volleyball team, marking the first time that there have been more than four teams in the RSEQ. McGill, who finished last in the RSEQ last season will have their first RSEQ match-up of the regular season against the undefeated Sherbrooke Vert et Or (3-0) next week.

“Even from last year the progression has been good,” said Beliveau. “Right now we go one game at a time, we don’t see further than what’s going to happen next week […] we’ll really take all games one by one.”

Sound bites

“Quebec teams are stronger and we dominate all of these games [against the AUS teams …] the real test will come when we start next week.” – Beliveau on the competition between RSEQ and AUS

Moment of the match

Halfway through the first set Dawoodjee served up two aces in a row

Stat of the match

McGill had 32 kills, 10 more than UNB

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