The young Varsity Reds, which featured four rookies in their starting lineup, fought through nerves and edged the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleues in straight sets (25-23, 26-24, 25-23) in their regular season opener at the Richard J. Currie Center.
“I think there were a lot of nerves in the beginning,” said head coach Jilliane Goulet after the game. “We hadn’t actually played a match for a couple of weeks so we had to get back into that match frame of mind. Plus, with UdeM, there’s always a bit of a rivalry.
“There were definitely some nerves showing that stopped us from really pulling ahead at any point.”
The final score may have been 3-0, but it certainly could have gone to more sets. The two teams went back and forth all evening with neither managing to pull away. The two stayed within a couple points of each for most of the match.
Goulet said momentum was something the team was missing on Saturday.
“It didn’t feel like it was straight sets. It really felt like a five setter with the way that we had to fight tooth and nail to get the win. Every time we pulled ahead, they clawed back. Full kudos to UdeM for fighting as hard as they did and making us really work our hardest to come out of there with the win.”
Rookies Victoria Eadle, with 21 points and player of the game honours, and Janie-Eve Doucet, with 12 points, led the way for the Varsity Reds.
Goulet was happy with Eadle’s performance.
“I thought she was really leading the charge in terms of staying aggressive, finding ways to score and finding ways to serve hard over and over again. She was solid on serve receive,” she said.
“It was just really a solid game from her and that’s what we expect from her. We know that she’s a standout player. She’s a pretty incredible athlete and that’s why she’s her and why we wanted her here. It’s nice to see that she’s coming out and having a game like that in her first game.”
UNB, now 1-0 on the season, host the Dalhousie Tigers on Saturday at 6 p.m. and the Acadie Axewomen on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Varsity Reds men’s volleyball team had a fairly successful visit to Newfoundland this past weekend. Participating in the first AUS-RSEQ Interlock Event of the season, UNB defeated Laval 3-0 and Sherbrooke 3-0 but fell to Montreal 3-2.
The victory over Laval was especially impressive with the Rouge et Or being ranked sixth in the country the week prior.
UNB’s men’s team, 2-1 in regular season play, host Dalhousie this Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.