Photo by Christian Bender

Rams take down Lions in five sets

By Cara Gilhula

TORONTO - The Ryerson Rams started off the new year by beating the York Lions in five sets (25-21, 25-26, 16-25, 25-21, 15-10) at the Coca-Cola Court on Saturday evening.

The Rams came out strong in the first set. Jordan Baric set the tone with a cross court kill, and Xander Ketrzynski picked up where he left off to begin his 19 kill game.

Baric achieved a new career high of 13 digs and finally beat his recurring total of 10 digs.

Overall, the Rams came out confident and kept pushing back against the Lions. The Rams strategized with strong hitting and mixed attacks to throw the Lions off their game. The Rams lead the technical at 16-13 and finished the set with a score of 25-21.

During the second set, the vibe changed and the intensity grew between the Rams and the Lions. The Rams kept getting caught on defense, and the Lions took advantage of these errors and quickly got into the Rams’ heads. York lead 16-14 at the technical, and the Rams continued to maintain their competitive play.

Players like Riley Anderson and Navreet Suhan came in to support the Rams offensively and defensively. Ketrzynski had a number of serves, which gave the Rams the lead, yet the Lions were able to come back 26-24.

The third set was very much back and forth. Rams Sean Shultis started to look very comfortable on the court, especially alongside Ketrzynski and Anderson. He was consistent and strong when needed, especially considering the Lions started to get in front of Ketrzynski.

“I was nervous because the past few games I’ve started and I wasn’t able to bring the same energy, but today I played like my normal self and it felt really good,” said Shultis.

Shultis made a total of 13 kills, which is a new career high compared his 10 kills from February, 2018.

At the technical the Lions lead 16-10 and capitalized on the Rams frustration to finish at 25-16. Heading into the fourth set, York was up 2-1.

During the fourth set, Ketrzynski still had some trouble getting through the Lions' blockers. Although, Suhan was also strong on the block with Jordan Baric and Gregory Vukets.

Vukets achieved a new career high of 44 assists from 39 assists.

The Rams lead 16-11 at the technical and noticed an energy increase. Omari Young entered the game and shined with two kills and three block assists to help extend the Rams lead.  Then, Ketrzynski along with Shultis found consistency again with their serves and attacks to push the Rams forward. As a result, the increase in energy really helped carry the Rams through to win 25-21 and take the Lions to the fifth set.

“I feel like we were able to bring it back really well after we lost the two sets,” said Shultis. “We are fighting through adversity with different changes that are happening to our team, so I think it’s all starting to come together.”

During the fifth set, it was clear that the Rams were enjoying the high pressure. They moved well on the court and were quick to cover each other.

“When we got a little more headstrong, that’s when we took it,” said Ketrzynski.

At the technical the Rams lead 8-7, and from there received the right bounces and found the openings to advance 15-10. The Rams won 3-2 over the York Lions.

Interim head coach Niko Rukavina said, “The best thing about volleyball is that we do play three out of five, so there are a lot of points and we can lose a lot, but there’s always time to come back. The fans were really great today to welcome us back, so this was a good win to dust the rust off after a long break.”

The Rams will welcome Nipissing to the Coca-Cola Court next Saturday, January 19th at 2:00 p.m. For live updates follow us on Twitter and tune in to OUA.tv.

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