The UNB Varsity Reds women’s volleyball team will be entering the Atlantic University Sport Championship on a high note.
The team concluded its regular season on Saturday at the Richard J. Currie Center, defeating the Cape Breton Capers in straight sets (25-22, 25-14, 25-17). UNB, 9-7 in regular season play, will host next weekend’s championship.
“It was an interesting game in that we tried to come out as hard as we could in the first set. We’ve been really working on that and I don’t think that we did,” said UNB head coach Jilliane Goulet following the game. “It took us a while to kind of ease into playing an aggressive game.
“It was good to get the win, 3-0, and we just did it by getting more and more aggressive as the game went along.”
The Capers had an early 4-1 lead in the first set but the Varsity Reds quickly caught up. The set remained close throughout with the teams exchanging one- or two-point leads. UNB went on a small run late to take it 25-22.
In the second set, the Varsity Reds had control throughout and cruised to a 25-14 win. It would end up being their easiest set win of the day as the Capers fought hard in the early goings of the third set. UNB started to take control halfway through and went on to a 25-17 victory.
The loss dropped Cape Breton to 0-15 on the season. They will be the only team not participating in the AUS Championship. Despite being locked into third place and facing a winless team, Goulet said it wasn’t difficult to get her team ready for Saturday’s match.
“We haven’t really been playing the game that we’ve wanted to play the past couple of weeks on the road. I think everybody was really motivated for this game to prove to ourselves that we can play better than we have recently.”
Janie-Eve Doucet, who had three kills, eight digs and 12 attacks, was named player of the game. Vanja Mitrovic had 23 attacks and 10 kills while Paige Nelmes had 13 digs.
The Varsity Reds will enter next weekend’s championship as the No. 3 seeded team behind Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie. MUN, Acadia and Moncton will also be taking part.
UNB’s first game, a quarterfinal match, will be on Friday at 7 p.m.
“The nerves are definitely going to be different next weekend,” said Goulet. “They are going to be a lot of nerves which can work for us or against us. I think we’ve got the group that thrives on big games and big energy like that. I think it should work in our favour next weekend.
“I really feel like the six teams that are in the tournament have been tight with each other most of the year, even though three of us have gotten more wins over the course of the year. Those wins against the [bottom three] teams have never been easy. A lot of them have been by two points each set. I think, and I hope, that everyone’s going to kind of give every team a run for their money.”
The AUS Championship begins this Friday, Feb. 13 and runs until Sunday, Feb. 15. The two quarterfinals will be held Friday, semifinals Saturday and the final on Sunday. All games will be held at the Currie Center.