Rams open season with victory on Champions night
TORONTO - On a night to remember in the Mattamy Athletic Centre, the Ryerson Rams managed to keep their now two-season undefeated streak alive with a 3-1 (25-20, 25-19, 23-25, 25-18) season-opening win over the Brock Badgers.
Last year’s championship team was honoured pre-game in the presentation of the 2018 championship rings, and the OUA and U SPORTS banners permanently found their home on the walls of the Coca-Cola Court.
“All the memories started coming back when they unveiled the banner,” says junior hitter Lauren Veltman (Brampton, Ont.). “It was so exciting. Having the alumni come down, and the whole team being back together, it was amazing. I’m still speechless.”
The Rams’ frontcourt setup mirrored that of last year’s, with Veltman and Cailin Wark (Georgetown, Ont.) on the outside and Theanna Vernon (Scarborough, Ont.) and Lindsay Kleuskens (London, Ont.) in the middle.
Rookie setter Lauren Wong (Scarborough, Ont.) made the start for the Rams, tallying 36 assists and 11 digs in her OUA debut.
Outside hitters Brett Hagerty (Aurora, Ont.) and Sara Piana (Ottawa, Ont.) also made their first appearances as Rams in the season-opener.
“Tonight was a tricky night for our team,” says Rams head coach Dustin Reid, speaking to the unusual Wednesday night game. “I expected Brock to play well, and they did. But, I thought we managed those tough moments well.”
The Rams’ return to mid-season form didn’t take very long. Though Ryerson emerged with a 25-20 first-set victory, the teams’ block looked shaky at times. By the second set, Ryerson had tallied six total blocks and continued putting up a fight against the Badgers’ offensive efforts.
After cruising to a 25-19 win in the second set, the Rams struggled to keep up with up with the Badgers in the third set. With eight errors on 35 attempts, the Rams dropped the third set 25-23.
Minimizing their errors in the fourth set and fighting back hard, the Rams earned a 25-18 set win and a 3-1 match victory.
Vernon and Veltman lead the team with 12 kills each.
Vernon also took sole ownership of Ryerson’s all-time service ace record tonight, tallying her 93rd career ace in the third set of the match.
The Rams will be back in action next Friday as they take on the Queen’s Gaels at 6:00 p.m. at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.