Rams stretch win streak to three
TORONTO - The success that the Ryerson Rams women’s volleyball team had at home last year has transitioned nicely into this one. After going 8-2 on Coca-Cola Court last season, the Rams swept the Nipissing Lakers 3-0 (25-12, 25-17, 25-21) in their 2016-17 home opener Friday night.
The victory extends their winning streak to three straight and bumps their record to 3-2. They currently sit third in the OUA East division. Meanwhile, the Lakers fall to 2-2 and into fourth place.
Ryerson came out flying in the first set. Second-year setter Kate McIlmoyle (London, Ont.) distributed the ball to a variety of attack options and they were firing on all cylinders. The Rams collected 12 kills and only one attack error to lay down a sparkling hitting percentage of .579. Their offensive prowess mixed with some struggles by the Lakers on serve receive resulted in a pretty lopsided 25-12 victory for Ryerson.
The second set was a much different story. Nipissing came out a whole new team and really began to push the pace. Knotted up at 13 midway through, Theanna Vernon (Scarborough, Ont.) went for an extended serving streak that helped the Rams build a bit of an advantage.
Down 22-17 and looking to get back into it, Nipissing’s offence fell apart down the stretch. Three straight attack errors gave the set to the Rams 25-17.
Through the first two sets, Ryerson first-year Cailin Wark (Georgetown, Ont.) was leading the team with 11 kills and only one attack error on 15 total attacks. The left-handed outside hitter seemed to be unstoppable for the Rams and her brilliant home debut continued in the third set.
She picked up a number of key kills and combined with Vernon to put up a few devastating blocks when things were close early on. A big shot by her down the left line made it 22-19 for Ryerson late in the set and ended a string of six straight points for the Lakers. That one play broke Nipissing’s momentum and the Rams cruised to the 25-21 victory to wrap things up.
"She’s a strong attacking, good blocking player,” said Ryerson’s head coach Dustin Reid about the Pakmen recruit. “Kate (McIlmoyle) did a really good job of putting her in situations where she can score. When she’s put in a good situation, she’s hard to block and hard to dig. She’s improved a lot in her short time here and we need her to keep improving.”
Wark finished with a game-high 15 kills while Vernon had ten and fifth-year Veronica Livingston (Kelowna, B.C.) six. McIlmoyle collected 33 assists and was also fantastic from the back line. She strung together points while serving on a number of occasions and finished with three aces.
“It’s nice to see both of our setters look more and more comfortable,” said Reid. “(Kate) was making plays and keeping it fun. When she does that, she’s a really good setter, makes good choices and does it naturally.”
Defensively, the Rams were tenacious all night and didn’t let the Lakers get any easy points. Ryerson finished with 45 digs, 14 of which came from fifth-year Becky Zeeman (Ottawa, Ont.) and ten from fourth-year libero Julie Longman (Newmarket, Ont.).
Tracy Hammerton led Nipissing with seven kills while first-year setters Stephanie Armstrong and Kylie Fast combined for 18 assists.
The Rams will look to make it four straight wins Saturday evening when they host the York Lions (2-1). If you can’t make it to the game, be sure to tune into the live broadcast on OUA.tv or Rogers TV Toronto. First serve flies at 6:00 p.m.