Photo by Henry Zhao

Rams flex skill in win over Toronto

By Jessica Pincente

TORONTO — In one of their most skillful games of the season thus far, the Ryerson Rams showcased their fullest potential in a 3-1 (20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-21) victory over the Toronto Varsity Blues on Sunday afternoon at the Goldring Centre.

Leading the charge for Ryerson was first-year hitter Xander Ketrzynski (Toronto, Ont.) who totaled 22 kills and a career-best six service aces in the win.

A quick start for Toronto saw the visiting Rams trailing through much of the first set. Ryerson was visibly struggling on the defensive end of the game, ineffectively blocking and digging Toronto’s attacks. The Varsity Blues would emerge with a 25-20 win in the first, garnering their only set win of the match.

The tides would begin to turn for the Rams midway through the second set. More back-and-forth action prevented either team from grabbing a significant lead, but Ryerson’s Ketrzynski would serve up two consecutive aces mid-set to swing momentum by way of the Rams.

“We started to fix a lot of our little errors,” recalls Ketrzynski about the team's second-set adjustments. “Toronto was playing really great volleyball at the beginning of the set, but we began to up the intensity and eventually gained the lead.”

The Rams would then battle their way to back-to-back 25-20 set wins, heading into the fourth with a single task at hand: continue their dominant play and emerge with a win against the first-ranked team in the division.

The Rams would achieve exactly this. Tallying 12 kills and forcing seven Toronto errors, the Rams would earn a 25-21 win in the fourth set and a 3-1 match victory over the Varsity Blues.

Rams coach Gabe Harrietha says the team's greatest strength today lied in the execution of their game plan.

“Toronto definitely put up a better fight than we did at the beginning of the match but we got a lot better at sticking to our game plan after the first set,” explains Harrietha. “The win today was huge and will hopefully set the tone for the second half of our season.”

The Rams will hit the road next weekend, heading east to take on the RMC Paladins on January 26 at 3:00 p.m. in Kingston.

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