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Women’s volleyball set for home opener

The Varsity Reds women’s volleyball team has returned from their exhibition road trip after winning their final game against the University of Ottawa 3 sets to 0. They are now preparing for their match at against the Aigles Bleues, their rival from the University of Moncton.

The team faced-off against Waterloo, Ryerson and Ottawa in the pre-season tournament. Though UNB had struggled in their first few matches, the team had a strong showing against the host Gee-Gees winning 3 – 0 to finish off the weekend.

“We learned that we need to play with aggression against big teams, and that is what we did against Ottawa,” said head coach Jilliane Portelli.

Portelli said that the games gave the team a chance to feel the consequences of errors in their play.

“We also saw how unforced errors can dig a hole that’s hard to get out of against teams that aren’t making the same errors,” she said.

Those errors and lapses in tight gameplay showed in their first four exhibition games. However, the team capitalized on these learning experiences and were successful in their final match of the trip.

“The win against Ottawa was our only win in five pre-season matches—we had a tough schedule.  Ottawa was tough too, but by the time we played them, we’d raised our level of play,” Portelli said. “Those matches have set us up to be playing at a good level in our first match this weekend.”

The team will be facing the Universite de Moncton this weekend in their home opening match. The rival team won three of the four games played against UNB during the regular season last year.

“It’s an important game for us as a chance to start the season on a winning note,” said Portelli. “[Our] preseason has set us up to be playing at a good level and it’s a home game, which always gives us an advantage.”

She says that the team plans to “come out firing” to capitalize on the momentum and skills gained during the preseason.

Though their gameplan for the weekend is kept confidential, they do have some specific goals.

“We have to serve aggressively and pass well,” says Portelli.

These skills will help the Red’s to be successful against the comparable age and experience of the Aigles Bleues.

During UDEM’s exhibition play in Montreal, the team was 0 and 4 against their competitors. The tournament included the University of Montreal, Saint Mary’s and McGill. The Aigles will have an uphill battle to retune before their season opener.

UNB meet UDEM on Saturday Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. in the Performance Gym at the Currie Center for their first regular season match and home opener. After this they will be found on Nov. 4 in the home gym facing off against the Acadia Axewomen. Though both games are at home, they can still be found on Austv.ca in both live and syndicated versions.

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