Montréal, QC- It was a season of streaks for Les Carabins, not only did they carry on some of their own, but they were also responsible for ending one of the most prolific runs in Québec university sports history. Despite one championship being cancelled due to the coronavirus, teams across UdeM’s athletics programs can head into their upcoming seasons with the confidence that they have established themselves as consistent threats to win.
Women’s Volleyball- The Same but Different
Les Carabins claimed their sixth consecutive crown this season. This year’s championship was also the team’s fourteenth RSEQ title in the program’s history. Despite their continued winning, this season brought on many firsts for Montréal’s volleyball squad.
Their path to glory was a lot tighter than usual; Université de Montréal, UQAM, and Université de Laval all finished the season with a 13-7 record, putting the spotlight on Les Carabins’ lethal offence. They punched their ticket to the US SPORTS National Championship by finishing with the top point differential among the three tied teams, at +135.
Not only did they showcase their strong team play throughout the season, but their extreme grit was on full display throughout the championship against Laval. On the first day of the finals, Les Carabins stormed onto Laval’s home court, commanded a lead, and brought a 3-1 lead back home. The next day, in their home gym, Les Carabins took the first two sets 25-18 and 25-17 but dropped the third set 16-25. Where it would have been easy to fall to Laval’s new momentum, the women from UdeM came back in the fourth set hungrier than ever and fought for a 25-21 win.
Heartbreakingly, the elation of their sixth title quickly turned to disappointment as U SPORTS announced the cancellation of the 2020 volleyball championships due to COVID-19. Les Carabins appeared poised to claim their first ever national title, something they should take comfort in heading into next year where they can hopefully continue their impressive form.
Men’s Football- Changing of the Guard
The RSEQ football season appeared to be heading down the same old path, with Laval being the representative from the league in the Uteck Bowl. Needless to say, Les Carabins had had enough of that narrative.
Despite finishing just behind Laval in the regular season, with a 6-2 record, Université de Montréal came alive come playoff time. After bullying McGill in the provincial semi-final, 39-6, Les Carabins went on to vanquish their forever rivals, Laval, 25-10 in the Dunsmore Cup. It was a stellar showing in every stage of the game for the boys in blue, as they not only capitalized on Laval’s mistakes, but made play after play of their own. By the final play, UdeM had ended Laval’s decade-long run to the Vanier Cup.
Hot off their biggest win against their provincial enemies since 2009, Les Carabins blanked Acadia 38-0 in the Uteck Bowl. Suddenly, it seemed like it was time for a new kind of Québecois champion. Unfortunately, the run ended at the hands of the Calgary Dinos by a score of 27-13 in the championship game.
Thanks to their 2019 run, the Montréal squad heads into next season with a new kind of confidence and swagger, but also a new head coach. Longtime staple, Danny Maciocia, was named the new general manager of the Montréal Alouettes. Marco Iadeluca is back with the program, after his seven year run as offensive coordinator ended in 2018. While Maciocia brought much success to the program over his tenure, as marked by the plethora of Carabins players that found their way in the CFL, it will be Iadeluca who will take the reins on what looks to be the start of the new era in Carabins football.