Rams advance to Final Four with win over Windsor
TORONTO — The No. 1 Ryerson Rams extended their superb 2018-19 campaign into the OUA quarter-finals on Saturday afternoon, taking a 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-10) win over the visiting Windsor Lancers to advance to the Final Four next weekend.
Leading the way for Ryerson was Cailin Wark (Georgetown, Ont.), who recorded 13 kills and 13.5 points in three sets.
Ryerson’s Theanna Vernon (Scarborough, Ont.) opened the first set with two consecutive kills to give the Rams an early lead. Ryerson went on a seven-point run in the first, continuing to dominate until the technical timeout. Windsor battled hard and wouldn’t let the Rams take an easy set win, but Ryerson pulled through with a 25-15 victory in the first.
The second set saw a much more difficult battle for the Rams. Windsor earned their first and only lead of the game midway through the second, finding their offensive footing and pulling ahead 11-10.
A well-placed timeout called by Rams head coach Dustin Reid seemed to refocus the team, who went on to pull out a 25-17 win in the second.
“We spoke about the fact that Windsor just had their first good run,” says Reid on the momentum-swinging timeout. “They were defending well and serving tough. That was a time where we had to show some resilience, and I thought we handled the situation very well after that.”
The third set saw some of Ryerson’s best volleyball of the season. Everything seemed to be going by way of the Rams, says Wark.
“I felt like a lot of things were going well on our side,” remarks Wark. “It was one of the best games we’ve played as a cohesive unit so far this season.”
Ryerson went on to earn a 25-10 win in the third, finalizing a 3-0 sweep over Windsor in the Rams’ final home-court game of the season.
Ryerson’s Brett Hagarty (Aurora, Ont.) finished the game with 11 digs and four service aces, while Vernon had nine kills and three aces through three sets. Rams setter Lauren Wong (Scarborough, Ont.) tallied 33 assists, three aces and 11 digs in the win over Windsor.
The quarter-final victory sees the Rams advance to the OUA Final Four for the fourth consecutive season.
Ryerson will look to defend their OUA title next weekend as they travel to take on the Western Mustangs in the provincial semifinal. Stay tuned for more details about the game.