Carabins hand volleyball Martlets first loss this season

Ashley Norfleet (left) and Marie-Pier Durivage

Box Score MONTREAL — Despite keeping a close game for all three sets, combined with a game-high 18-point performance from rookie Myriam Robitaille, McGill dropped its first game of the regular season, swept 25–22, 25–22, 25–23 by Universite de Montreal.

Success against the Carabins has been hard to come by for McGill in recent years. The last time the Martlets came out on top was a three-set sweep in the 2012 Martlet Invitational bronze-medal match. In the last 42 matches between the cross-town rivals, McGill has only triumphed five times.

Martlets head coach Rachele Beliveau thought her team generally matched up well on the Carabins’ home court Sunday, noting positive strides made against a team that usually requires the most game-plan adjustments.

“Their style of play is different than any of our other games,” Beliveau explained. “When you play Montreal, their rallies are not long, so either we score very fast because they’re not playing that good on defence, or they score very fast. For us, not playing long rallies somehow disturbs the consistency of our game a little bit.

“Usually when we play at Montreal, it’s really tough to serve-receive and, today, we did just fine. I think we’re also blocking better than before.”

Montreal led the way with close margins in most statistical categories, topping McGill in kills (41–36), digs (44–40) and blocks (11.5–7). The two teams tied with six service aces apiece. Despite the win, the Carabins also committed more service errors (8–5) and reception errors (9–5) than McGill.

According to Beliveau, the team’s game plan was to play high-risk and throw off Montreal’s defence. While the team was somewhat successful in that respect, hesistation, at times, proved costly in throwing off McGill’s uptempo strategy.

“The game plan was that we were going to play it at high-risk, trying to serve hard and trying to hit hard, and not worrying about the scoring and just stick to it,” Beliveau said. “As soon as we make a mistake, very often we stop hitting. That’s not what we wanted to do, but we were afraid of making more mistakes.”

Robitaille, a 6-foot middle from Terrebonne, Que. led the McGill attack and all scorers with a whopping 12 kills, three service aces and four stuff blocks. Fifth-year setter Marie-Christine Lapointe finished with 8.5 points, leading her team with 11 digs, while fifth-year middle Marie-Pier Durivage put up eight points. Meanwhile, setter Yasmeen Dawoodjee led the way with 33 assists.

Montreal got a strong pair of efforts from Sarah Gosselin and Marie-Alex Belanger, who notched 14.5 and 12.5 points, respectively.

McGill (5–1) plays their first home game of the regular season next Friday (Nov. 7) against the Laval Rouge et Or (5–0) at Love Competition Hall. First serve goes at 7 p.m.

 #9 McGill vs #2 Montreal 
 (2 nov. 14 at Montreal, Que.)
 Montreal def. McGill 25-22,25-22,25-23
 McGill (Kills-aces-blocks) - Myriam Robitaille 12-3-4;
 Marie-Pier Durivage 6-0-3; Marie-Christine Lapointe 6-1-3; Ashley Norfleet
 4-0-0; Catherine Amyot 4-2-0; Marie-Eve Dorion 2-0-0; Yasmeen
 Dawoodjee 2-0-1; Totals 36-6-7.0. (Assists) - Yasmeen Dawoodjee 33.
 (Dig leaders) - Marie-Christine Lapointe 11; Ashley Norfleet 9; Yasmeen
 Dawoodjee 8
 Montreal (Kills-aces-blocks) - Marie-Alex Belanger 11-0-3;
 Sarah Gosselin 9-2-7; Marie-Sophie Nadeau 8-0-1; Alexane L. Joly
 6-2-1; Vicky Savard 6-0-4; Mikhaella Blanchette 1-0-0; Katia Forcier
 0-2-2; Totals 41-6-11.5. (Assists) - Katia Forcier 39. (Dig leaders) -
 Vicky Savard 10; Stephanie Lojen 8; Marie-Sophie Nadeau 8; Marie-Alex
 Belanger 8
 Site: Montreal, Que. (CEPSUM)
 Date: 2 nov. 14  Attend: 200  Time: 1h24
 Referees: Hugo Giroux, Isabelle Robichaud
1 Laval 5 5 0 15 1 392 309 1.000 0.0
2 Montréal 6 5 1 16 4 486 377 0.833 -0.5
3 McGill 6 5 1 15 4 465 346 0.833 -0.5
4 Sherbrooke 5 3 2 12 8 452 410 0.600 -2.0