Rams cruise past Lions at home
TORONTO - Make it four straight sweeps for the Ryerson Rams women’s volleyball team. Less than 24 hours after knocking off the Nipissing Lakers in straight sets, the Rams defeated the York Lions 3-0 (25-10, 25-11, 28-26) at the Mattamy Athletic Centre Saturday night.
The win bumps Ryerson’s record to 4-2 and into second in the OUA East. Meanwhile, the Lions fall to 2-2.
Much like they did against the Lakers in their home opener Friday night, the Rams came out flying in the opening set. Second-year setter Kate McIlmoyle (London, Ont.) and her attacking staff were in perfect rhythm and the Lions couldn’t find an answer. Ryerson combined for 14 kills and no errors on 23 attacks. A kill percentage of nearly 61% compared to the seven kills and nine errors York posted was the difference as the Rams took it 25-10.
In the second, the Lions’ head coach John May made a few changes on the floor that worked well in the early going. Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Williams picked up a few points early and a was big reason why things were knotted at five at one point. From there though, Ryerson made the necessary adjustments and they took advantage of their size advantage at the net.
Different combinations of Theanna Vernon (Scarborough, Ont.), Veronica Livingston (Kelowna, B.C.), Cailin Wark (Georgetown, Ont.) and Lauren Veltman (Brampton, Ont.) shut down a number of York attacks. That strong block defence and more consistent hitting allowed the Rams to collect eleven of the next fourteen points and go into the technical timeout up 16-8.
The Lions offence dried up further after the break. A number of attack errors by York gifted Ryerson free points and, in the end, a beautiful spike down the left side line by Becky Zeeman (Ottawa, Ont.) out of system sealed the 25-11 victory and a 2-0 advantage.
Late in that second set, May made a key decision that had an immediate impact on the rest of the game. A few points before Zeeman’s attack won it, he took fifth-year setter Kirsten Dillon out in favour of third-year Mimi Demski.
On the other side of the net, Ryerson’s head coach Dustin Reid made a similar move as he started rookie setter Mady Timpany (Woodstock, Ont.) for the third set.
Demski shook up the Lions’ offence and the changes she made worked. A handful of kills by Williams and some strong play from York’s middle blockers made things a lot more competitive. A string of three straight points for the Lions made it 17-16 for York and resulted in Reid switching back to McIlmoyle for the rest of the set.
Down the stretch, the Rams had a few match points to work with, but York continued to battle. In total, Ryerson had three that they didn’t finish on before the Lions strung together a couple of points to go up 26-25.
A quick dump by McIlmoyle tied things back up at 26. Then, a couple of statement kills by Vernon and Livingston wrapped things up in favour of the Rams.
“She played a little bit last year but her responsibilities are totally different (now),” said Rams’ assistant coach Glenn Imperial about McIlmoyle after the game. “Her play and block defence, it starts there. She’s a capable setter. She knows how to run the offence. But we expect a lot more from our players. They need to be the entire package and she’s really coming along.”
McIlmoyle finished with 22 assists while Timpany added nine in her half set of action. The duo was a big reason Ryerson finished with only eight attack errors and a kill percentage of nearly 41%.
Livingston picked up a game-high eleven kills while Wark and Zeeman each collected eight.
“If we become one dimensional, two dimensional and only go to two hitters, it won’t work,” said Imperial about Ryerson’s offensive approach. “This league does a great job of preparing. When you have three people to worry about, it just makes it a lot tougher (for opponents).
"Cailin (Wark) has been a great addition and I think that’s also really challenged us too in practice. We’re battling every week against each other and we have some tough options either way. It really makes for a competitive environment and it really translates onto the court.”
As per usual, the Rams’ Julie Longman (Newmarket, Ont.) was phenomenal in the back row and provided her setters with great passes to work with. She had 12 of the Rams’ 30 digs.
Williams and Melissa Monkhouse each had nine kills for York.
Ryerson will look to keep their winning streak going when they travel to Windsor next weekend. The Rams and hometown Lancers (2-2) clash at the St. Denis Centre at 2:00 p.m on Saturday, November 19th. The game is the lone match Ryerson’s schedule after a busy start to the season.