Rams send off seniors in final home victory over RMC
TORONTO - For the Ryerson Rams seniors, they got to cap off the celebration of their careers with a bang as the Rams defeated the hard-charging RMC Paladins 3-1 on senior’s night Friday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
The Rams paid tribute to four of their most valuable and storied players in Lucas Coleman (Brooklin, Ont.), Adam Anagnostopoulos (Waterloo, Ont.), Brendan Kewin (Milton, Ont.), and Brett Whitley (Brighton, Ont.). While the night began as a testament to their careers and impact on the program, team-leader Coleman insists that the outgoing seniors treated the game as though it were any other.
“It was a great feeling to be congratulated at the start of the game, but our focus this year is so much larger than just one game,” he said. “We have playoffs coming up at home, so that game will definitely bring a lot of emotions.”
Having just recently shunted the Paladins 3-0 on their own home court, the Rams were surprised to find themselves trailing after the first set. The Paladins capitalized on Rams mistakes and used them to build momentum and push to a nail-biting 26-24 win in the first set. The core of outgoing seniors, including Coleman with a game-high 19 kills, would turn up the intensity to run out the following three sets for the victory. However, the Paladins had made their mark with the first set.
“I think we were taught a lesson tonight in just pure heart and desire by RMC,” Rams head coach Adam Simac said. “RMC are big on heart and I have nothing but admiration for those guys. I hope our guys can learn something from that tonight.”
Coming back for the victory was crucial as the Rams close out their season Sunday afternoon to move into the post-season. Strong performances by the seniors and new players such as Simon Davis-Power (Conception Bay South, Nfld.) - one of whom’s kills nearly left a crater in the Mattamy court floor - showed that the Rams are not only ready for the playoffs, but for the future with a new lineup. Holding on to the top of the OUA East, the Rams have already begun the playoffs as far as they are concerned.
“For us, the playoffs started tonight,” Simac said. “We tried to treat this as a quarter-final game one, and we have another quarter-final on Sunday. We need to start the right way and we need to continue playing the right way, because the scary thing about playoffs - especially with this quarter-final - is you have a bad day and that’s your season right there. Being very careful of every touch because each point is precious.”
As far as the future past the playoffs is concerned, the Ryerson Rams are in good hands.
“I hope that [the seniors] have left behind a culture of strong worth ethic and putting the team before yourself,” Coleman said. “Personally, that’s something I had a tough time learning, but Adam Simac has been a fantastic mentor for me. I think the team’s legacy is in strong hands with this young core of guys. I’m really excited to come back in the future and watch them compete.”
The Ryerson Rams close out the 2017-18 regular season on Sunday, Feb. 25 against the Nipissing Lakers in the Robert J. Surtees Student Athletic Centre at 2:00 p.m. ET. Rams fans can catch the last of the team’s regular season action and get a glimpse into the team’s playoff standing by following the action live on OUA.tv.