The men’s team, led by head coach Fethi Abed, is still undefeated in the 2023-24 season, with a record of 6-0; more precisely, the guys from Vert & Or won 18 sets and lost only… three.
More than a solid start to the season for the Vert & Or, who finished second at the USPORTS National Championship last March.
Sherbrooke is ahead of the University of Alberta, Queen’s and Winnipeg. Laval University’s Rouge et Or is the second team in Quebec, and 11th in the Canadian rankings, with a record of 4-1.
On the other hand, Fethi Abed refuses to lose his temper.
“Are we surprised to be in the front row? I would say no. The teams that were ahead of us last year are losing games this year, and since we are playing well, we had little doubt that the standings would be in our favor – he explains.
“We work hard. We prepare hard for every game, and we prepare differently for every opponent. We play every match to win, that’s all. The whole team is playing well, the balance is there, the forces are divided. »
— Fethi Abed
Along with Jonathan Portelance, Zachary Hollands and Elliot Collard, Vert & Or notes the emergence of rookie players like Grégoire Mercier-Noël, who arrives from Volontaires du Cégep de Sherbrooke, or Hugo Ouellet.
“Grégoire did well, he did his job correctly. We want to fill the departure of Sébastien Lapensée, and we have two very good new recruits. Grégoire and Hugo give us good internal competition and it’s the team that benefits,” continues Fethi Abed.
He is already preparing for the end of the season
Sherbrooke will host Montreal (2-5) this Sunday, before visiting the Rouge et Or (4-1) in Quebec on Dec. 1, before going on break.
“They were all close games. Nothing is won in advance. At the same time, these matches also serve as preparation for the domestic part of the season. Even though we’re 6-0, we haven’t won anything yet. We are preparing the team for the end of the season. »
“It’s always positive to see yourself at the top of the Canadian rankings. It’s good for visibility. We are developing a culture of winning. The boys have adapted very well to the opponent’s game, and Quebec has a very good caliber. Our national order is even more profitable in this sense,” says Abed.
The girls took eighth place USPORTS
The Vert & Or women’s team, led by Claude Tremblay in its first season, is also doing well, with an eighth-place finish in the Canadian USPORTS rankings thanks to a 7-3 record.
The McGill Martlets also have a 7-3 record.
UBC and Trinity Western dominate the Canadian standings with identical 8-0 records.
“We lost the first match, the girls were a little nervous, but after that we had a successful streak of six wins in a row. We lost two very close games, against McGill and UQAM, two teams we beat at the beginning of the season. The standings are very, very close, all the teams are competitive. It’s so close that we could see four teams finishing tied for first place at the end of the season,” explains Claude Tremblay.
“We have a fifth-year player, Emma Bergeron, but the rest of the roster is mostly second- or third-year players. McGill has a lot of graduates this year. They have been very competitive for three years. Montreal also comes into play. But we’re holding on. »
— Claude Tremblay
Claude Tremblay spent the last 10 years of his career with UQAM; beat his former team, in Sherbrooke, in the first matchup between the two teams, but the Vert & Or recently lost to Citadines in Montreal.
“It was a special atmosphere! We won the first two sets quite easily, but lost the second two very narrowly, before losing in the fifth set. I saw all the staff I worked with for 10 years. It was a bit emotional for me; the girls played very well, despite a few small flaws in the fourth and final set.”
Finish strong before the break
Vert & Or have one more game to play before the break; the girls will be in action this Saturday in Ottawa (4-5). The match against ETS will not be counted in the ranking.
“We want to finish strong. The beauty so far is that we have beaten all the top teams in Quebec. It shows us that we have everything we need to get to the end. Last year, when we won with UQAM, it was also very, very close. A game won or lost will make the difference. The caliber of the league is so high that everyone is improving,” says Claude Tremblay.
For the latter, on the other hand, the USPORTS ranking is one ranking among others.
“If we had beaten UQAM, we would have been in sixth or seventh place. You lose the match and you go downhill. Don’t rely too much on this. In the rest of the country there are dominant ultra teams. Otherwise, everyone is practically at the same level. I care very little about this ranking. I will be watching him more towards the end of the season, before the provincial finals, because he will be important for placing in the Canadian championship. At the same time, it is not an end in itself. »