Photo by Christian Bender

Rams succeed in five set showdown with Gryphons

By Cara Gilhula

TORONTO - The Rams hosted the Guelph Gryphons for a fifth a set showdown on Saturday night and came out on top 3-2 (33-31, 26-24, 23-25, 24-26, 15-12). The Rams are now 12-5 with one match left in the regular season.

Notably, the top three offensive Rams tonight were Xander Ketrzynski with 33 kills and Sean Shultis earned 11, Omari Young with seven, while Greg Vukets had 14 digs.

After a strong fifth set comeback last night, the Rams were quick to control the court against the Guelph Gryphons during the first set.

“Last night we had a really tough game in five, so we were really amped for tonight. We wanted to put it away earlier, but we were ready to battle through,” says Young.

The Gryphons capitalized on the mistakes the Rams made to earn the 16-14 lead at technical. Although, the Rams continued to push back with their strong offense. Young’s confidence was booming on the court with the support of the Rams behind him. He tallied a number of swift kills that helped to set the tone for the Rams.

“My confidence has been growing since the season has begun, so I am pretty excited to see where things are going to go for all of us,” says Young.

Not far behind, returning players, Vukets and Navreet Suhan were quick on the defensive blocks and kills to motivate the Rams to continue to push. Ketrzynski took control with a number of cross court kills, and Shultis was offensive support when the Gryphons adjusted their blocks to Ketrzynski. This lead to a number of back and forth points between the Rams and the Gryphons.The first set ended with a tight and extensive score of 33-31.

Ryerson was quick to push past the Gryphons in the second set. With high energy underway, the Rams were recovering well from each point. Young and Ketrzynski were tight on the block with Adam Sandeson strong on the support. Unfortunately, the Gryphons were capitalizing on the right moments and took the lead at 16-12 during the technical.

Even though they were up for the block, the Rams suffered a number of block errors that helped to accelerate the Gryphons. In the remaining few points, the possession of the ball continued to switch. Although, the Rams put up a fight to advance 26-24.

Entering the third with two sets under their belt, confidence for the Rams was an understatement. The Rams were flying across the court and covering for each other well. Vukets, a setter, was hitting more than normal, and Jordan Baric was pulling through with his serves. Ketrzynski continued to dominate with his strong kills.  

Notably, it was another set of interchangeable points where the Gryphons lead 16-14 at the technical again. Then, the Gryphons were able to get ahead of the Rams and get on the board at 25-23.

Young continued to dominate on the front lines in the fourth and Shultis found the openings with his kills. Defensively, the Rams were aware of their positioning. Unfortunately the errors got the best of them, giving the Gryphons opportunity to minimize the Rams lead and take the technical again at 16-14. The battle continued and the possession changed each point. Ketrzynski and Shultis kept the flow going to keep the Rams in the game. But it was the Gryphons to pull ahead at 26-24 to take the showing to the fifth set.

The fifth set continued like the rest, points back and forth. The rallies kept the crowd content, and the teams motivated. Ketrzynski proved accuracy amongst his number of kills.

After a great pass by Suhan and a recovery block by Vukets, the Rams were excited to take the lead at 8-6.

From there, Lhexen Rabit created a challenge for the Gryphons with his digs and smooth sailing serves, while the rest of the team was able to make use of the Gryphons errors to maintain their lead. Young was quick to find the openings once again on his kills, and him and Ketrzynski were up on the block multiple times to force the Gryphons to call a time-out. The Rams were leading 14-12 and Young finished off the game with a kill to win 15-12.

“Ketrzynski and I have been together for a while now, we went to the same high school and played together there, so it is nice to be able to perform in the OUA together,” says Young.

“There’s a lot of us young guys on the court and everyone wants to go out there and do their best, so I am glad it was a good game. I think we really kept the balls alive, whether that be through defense or blocking. Honestly, I am really excited about what we just did tonight.”

After an extensive break, the Rams will welcome McMaster to the Coca-Cola Court for their last game of the regular season on February 24th at 4:00 p.m.

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