Rams claim first ever Quigley Cup championship
TORONTO – The Ryerson Rams claimed their first ever OUA volleyball championship on Saturday night, defeating the McMaster Marauders 3-1 in front of a packed house at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
The Rams completed their unbeaten year following a 19-0 regular season to claim the program’s first ever Quigley Cup.
Fourth year middle Theanna Vernon was named the Player of the Game with 12 kills and 10 blocks.
“I don’t know how to put what I’m feeling into words; I’m just extremely excited and so proud of everyone on my team,” said Vernon. “I feel like I want to cry when I think about how I feel, I’m just so proud of everyone and I am so proud to win a gold medal for Ryerson.”
The championship match didn’t start out as planned for the Rams as they lost a marathon first set, 29-27. No stranger to losing the first set, Ryerson was able to find their composure, take control in the second set and never looked back.
“Inside I felt we maybe let an opportunity get away from us,” said Rams coach Dustin Reid following the match about the first set loss. “But [really] I had no choice; I had to tell them how close we were…and stay positive and patient.”
Ryerson jumped out to a 6-1 advantage in the second set in large part to some strong blocking from Vernon and Cailin Wark. The large advantage carried through to the technical as the Rams led 16-8 at the break. McMaster narrowed the gap to five points at 20-15 but that was as close as they came as Janelle Albert sealed the second set at 25-18 for the Rams with a service ace.
In the third it was the Marauders who built an early 6-1 lead but Ryerson came back to tie the set at 12-12 after an Alicia Lam serve found the baseline. The Rams took the lead at 16-13 into the technical timeout and after some strong play at the net, Wark finished the scoring at 25-19 to give Ryerson a 2-1 match lead.
With the championship within their grasp, Ryerson built another big lead early in the fourth. After a Vernon kill made it 7-1 for the Rams, Ryerson was able to play loose and they capitalized on McMaster’s errors. Ryerson led 16-10 at the technical timeout and after two match points were spoiled by the Marauders, Ryerson’s Lauren Veltman finally put the championship point to the floor.
“It hasn’t really sunk in,” said Reid, reflecting on the historic win. “This environment is so nice because we are able to share it with alumni who were builders of this program, and friends and family. That’s the most special part now. I think I’ve hugged one player so far and I’m looking forward to hugging every single one of them.”
With the Quigley Cup victory the Rams will be the lone OUA team to advance to next week’s U SPORTS national championship in Quebec City at Laval.