(FREDERICTON, NB) The proverbial monkey is off the UNB Varsity Reds' collective back.
UNB broke a nine game losing streak, scoring a 3-2 victory over the visiting Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus, Friday night.
"We knew we could win some of those games," said Varsity Reds head coach Jilliane Portelli. "It was just a matter of proving it to ourselves that we're more capable than the results have been showing."
After winning the opening set 25-22, the Varsity Reds struggled in the second.
Moncton opened the second set with a 5-0 run, and UNB was never able to rebound. Moncton won the second set 25-11.
The Varsity Reds appeared to be ready to bounce back in the third, racing out to a 3-0 lead.
They extended that lead to 12-6, before les Aigles Bleus closed the gap.
Solid serving from Judith Desjardins, pushed Moncton ahead late, on route to a 25-22 win and a two sets to one lead.
The fourth set was close, at least in the early going.
Neither team was able to establish any sort of lead, until UNB went on an 8-0 run, building a 20-10 edge.
Another kill by Doucet was the exclamation point on UNB's 25-16 win that evened the match.
A 5-0 run in the fifth set allowed the Varsity Reds to pull ahead for good. They took the set 15-9, to win the game three sets to two.
"The girls have been putting a lot of work into practice and getting better and better every day and I think it paid off against Moncton," said Doucet.
She finished the night with an impressive 25 kills, 13 digs and 27 points, to lead UNB.
"It just feels good, as a team, to know that we can get a win before AUS. It just makes us happy, because we've been working hard."
"We just stopped playing," said Moncton head coach Monette Boudreau-Carroll. "We got caught in a couple of rotations that we couldn't get out of. At some point, you've got to have a little bit more fight than that and… I don't know, I'll have to look at the tape and see."
Christelle Bertin led les Aigles Bleus, recording 11 kills, 11 digs and 2 aces.
Catherine Guitard had 18 digs.
Rookie Megan Kuciak continues to come up big for the Varsity Reds. She had 18 digs and 3 aces.
The win doesn't change anything in the standings, but Coach Portelli likes that it comes just as the team heads to the AUS championship tournament.
"It gives us that boost, to know that we can do this, and we can win, and we're capable of making the points that count at the end of tight sets," said Portelli.
"I think a win was important tonight, just for the realization that we can do this."
The AUS championship tournament begins Friday, at Acadia University.
The Varsity Reds will likely face the host Axewomen, in one of two quarter-final matches.