Rams prevail against Lakers up north
NORTH BAY, Ont. - A season-high 14 kill performance by Theanna Vernon (Scarborough, Ont.) propelled the Ryerson Rams women’s volleyball team to a 3-1 win (25-21, 20-25, 25-14, 25-18) over the Nipissing Lakers at the Robert J Surtees Student Athletics Centre Saturday evening. Vernon also added two service aces, three solo blocks and four block assists for a team-high 21 points.
The victory extends the Rams’ winning streak to three and completes their sweep of the season series against the Lakers. Ryerson defeated Nipissing 3-0 (25-12, 25-17, 25-21) in their home opener on November 11th, 2016.
Although they got the result they were after, the Rams came out a little slow on the road. Down 8-3 early in the first set, Ryerson’s Cailin Wark (Georgetown, Ont.) put together a strong serving streak to even things up at eight. Up 16-14 at the technical timeout following a Vernon ace, three kills by Becky Zeeman (Ottawa, Ont.) and a few errors by the Lakers gave the Rams the opening set 25-21.
After racking up ten attack errors in the first set, Nipissing cleaned things up in the second. Three straight kills by Tracy Hammerton completed a stretch where the Lakers collected 12 of 14 points awarded.
Down 16-12 at the technical timeout, Ryerson struggled to make the necessary adjustments to contain Hammerton. She picked up points number 23, 24 and 25 in the set to push Nipissing to the 25-20 win and knot things up at one.
As they have all season, the Rams bounced back. Nine straight serves by Veronica Livingston (Kelowna, B.C.), including three aces, put Ryerson up 10-2 early in the third set. That strong start helped the Rams cruise to the 25-14 victory and 2-1 advantage.
Settled and comfortable, Ryerson continued to pour it on in the fourth. Kills by Wark, Livingston and Zeeman gave them another early lead that they refused to surrender. With the Rams up 16-10, things got a little sloppy on both sides of the net. In the end though, Ryerson held on for the 25-18 win in the set and 3-1 victory overall.
The Rams’ Julie Longman (Newmarket, Ont.) had a game-high 18 digs while Jena Bonello (Vaughan, Ont.) added 12 kills and Kate McIlmoyle collected 40 assists.
Hammerton led all attackers with 18 kills.
Wins in eight of their last nine regular season contests improve the Rams to 8-3. They remain in second place in the OUA East division behind the No. 2 Toronto Varsity Blues (9-0). Nipissing slides to 5-5 and into fourth.
Ryerson will look to keep things rolling next weekend when they welcome both Kingston, Ont. schools to the Mattamy Athletic Centre. They’ll take on the Queen’s Gaels (5-6) Friday at 6:00 p.m and the RMC Paladins (0-11) Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
NOTES: The win bumps the Rams’ record to 6-0 against Nipissing since they joined the OUA in 2014-15… Veronica Livingston’s three service aces boosts her career total to 88. That makes her Ryerson’s all-time service aces leader. Emily Nicholishen, a former teammate of Livingston’s, previously held the crown with 86.