Photo by Henry Zhao

Resilient Rams earn five-set win over No. 8 Toronto

By Jessica Pincente

TORONTO — The No. 4 Ryerson Rams proved both their resiliance and their determination against the No. 8 Toronto Varsity Blues on Sunday afternoon, clawing their way to a 3-2 (15-25, 25-15, 22-25, 25-21, 15-6) victory on the road.

The win against Toronto marked the Rams’ fifth consecutive victory of the season. Ryerson captain Theanna Vernon (Scarborough, Ont.) led the team with 16 kills and nine total blocks (six solo, three assists) through five sets.

A slow start to the game saw the Rams work out kinks in their error-ridden play; the team would attack at an uncharacteristic -.042 percent through the first set. The Varsity Blues capitalized on Ryerson’s errors and exposed holes in the Rams’ defense, going on to take a 25-15 win in the first set.

Ryerson’s defensive woes began to subside in the second set as the team’s blocking started to excel. The Rams were back on the road to success, gaining momentum and earning a 25-15 win in the second.

The two opponents seemed to gain a better understanding of each others’ tactics after exchanging 25-15 set victories. Back-and-forth action ensued for the next two sets; the Rams would take a narrow lead just to relinquish it to Toronto a few points later. Toronto emerged with a win in the third, but the Rams would come back and steal a victory in the fourth. A fifth set would be necessary to settle this chapter of the Toronto/Ryerson rivalry.

Ryerson’s fifth-set play was some of their best in the game. The Rams would tally six kills through 15 short points, benefiting from Toronto’s seven errors in the set. Ryerson would ultimately come out on top, taking a 15-6 win in the fifth and earning a 3-2 match victory.

Rams head coach Dustin Reid says he has immense respect for the Varsity Blues and their program but was undeniably thrilled with the win and the performance today.

“The resilience shown by the team today is my biggest takeaway from the match,” says Reid. “The fact that we believed we could win when we were in some tough spots and that we played our best volleyball when the game was tightest really says something.”

Ryerson’s Brett Hagarty (Aurora, Ont.) had a career-best performance in the win over Toronto, tallying a season-high 24 digs and 12.0 points.

The Rams will be back in action next weekend, taking on the RMC Paladins on January 26 at 1:00 p.m. in Kingston.

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