QUARTERFINAL #3: McGill reaches first-ever CIS semifinal
Courtesy of McMaster University sports information / Photo credit Lindsay Franco
HAMILTON, Ont. (CIS) – The McGill Martlets reached the semifinals of the CIS women’s volleyball championship for the first time in program history on Friday evening thanks to a thrilling five-set win (26-24, 25-18, 20-25, 23-25, 15-13) over the Saint Mary’s Huskies in the third quarter-final of the national tournament held at McMaster University’s Burridge Gym.
The Martlets, seeded fifth prior to the tourney following a loss in the RSEQ final, had placed sixth in their only previous CIS championship appearance, in 1997. They will look to make more history Saturday at 8 p.m. when they face either No. 1 Alberta or No. 8 McMaster.
The fourth-seeded Huskies, crowned AUS champions this season, were also hoping to qualify for the national semis for the first time. They now have to settle for fifth place at best and will resume play on the consolation side of the draw Saturday at 3 p.m. against the losers of the Alberta-McMaster first-round tilt.
Geneviève Plante of Montreal was named the player of the match for McGill collecting 15 points on 15 kills. She also registered a team-high 17 digs in a game that featured a total of 201 digs between both squads. Kaiva Mateus, a first-team all-Canadian middle from Montreal West, also posted 15 points registering 10 kills.
Fifth-year senior Kerri Smit, also a first-team CIS all-star from Shubenacadie, N.S., was the game’s top player recording 29 points including 28 kills and one ace. She earned player of the match honours for Saint Mary’s.
The entire game was a see-saw battle which saw both teams never go on a lengthy run or open up a lead larger than seven points (second set); for most of the match the teams were separated by less than two points.
Although the set scores were close, McGill held a 2-0 advantage and at times looked to be on their way to a three-set sweep. However, the Huskies dusted McGill in the next two games setting up a dramatic final set.
In the final frame, the game was tied eight times and featured four lead changes. The two teams were never separated by more than two points from each other. In the end – McGill outlasted the Huskies with a 15-13 finish, Victoria Pelletier closing the debate with a kill on the back line.
Mateus, a fourth-year Psychology major eluded that the Martlets may have got caught up in the score as the reason for the loss in the third and fourth sets.
“I think we were getting a little over excited and we stopped playing for each individual point and more looking at the score,” Mateus said. In the fifth set we tried to regroup and once we calmed down a little bit we were able to refocus and pick it back up again.”
“For us to be successful we’re going to have to go with the same mentality – focus on each point and not the score.”
Smit who was sporting a black eye and stitches following the game was proud of her team despite the loss.
“We didn’t come out as fast as we should have – but we came back being down two which I think it shows character,” said Smit. “I’m proud of my girls and the tournament is not over. We’ve still got a way to go; so we’ll feel crappy about it now but we’ll get over it.
The black eye was a result of a collision of a teammate in the fourth set. Both players remained in the game Huskies’ setter Jane Pegg of Weyburn, Sask., recorded 43 assists and 21 digs in the loss which were game highs in both categories
Marcela Mansure of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil led McGill in assists with 39.
NOTE : McGill kept a sub-par 5-10 record in conference play but booked its ticket to Hamilton thanks to a shocking upset of last year’s CIS finalists, the Laval Rouge et Or, in the best-of-three RSEQ semifinal series... McGill and Saint Mary’s faced off twice earlier this year in non-conference action. Both games took place at McGill on the same day, Oct. 15, with the Huskies prevailing 3-2 and 3-0.
Kills: Geneviève Plante (15), Kaiva Mateus (10)
Points: Geneviève Plante (15), Kaiva Mateus (15)
Blocks: Marcela Mansure (2), Emily Kyte (2)
Digs: Geneviève Plante (17)
Service aces: Kaiva Mateus (2), Rebecca Canam (2)
Assists: Marcela Mansure (39)
Player of the match: Geneviève Plante
Kills: Kerri Smit (28)
Points: Kerri Smit (29), Amy Crider (17)
Blocks: Tessa Felix (3.5)
Digs: Jane Pegg (21), Amy Crider (20)
Service aces: Amy Crider (2), Elizabeth Cosulich (2)
Assists: Jane Pegg (43)
Player of the match: Kerri Smit
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS
NOTE: Live webcast of all games on SSN Canada.
NOTE: Live broadcast of championship semifinals and Sunday games on Cable 14 (Hamilton).
Friday, March 2
13:00 Quarter-final #1: Montreal 3, Trinity Western 1 (25-22, 11-25, 25-21, 25-23)
15:00 Quarter-final #2: UBC 3, Queen’s 0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-16)
18:00 Quarter-final #3: McGill 3, Saint Mary’s 2 (26-24, 25-18, 20-25, 23-25, 15-13)
20:00 Quarter-final #4: No. 1 Alberta vs. No. 8 McMaster
Saturday, March 3
13:00 Consolation #1: Trinity Western vs. Queen’s
15:00 Consolation #2: Saint Mary’s vs. Loser QF #4
18:00 Semifinal #1: Montreal vs. UBC
20:00 Semifinal #2: McGill vs. Winner QF #4
Sunday, March 4
11:00 5th place
13:00 Bronze medal
16:00 Championship final