Rams extend winning streak to six
TORONTO - Another solid offensive performance by the Ryerson Rams women’s volleyball team was the difference as they swept the Brock Badgers (25-16, 25-21, 25-17) at the Mattamy Athletic Centre Saturday afternoon. Ryerson’s Veronica Livingston (Kelowna, B.C.) bested all attackers with 11 kills while Cailin Wark (Georgetown, Ont.) added eight and Theanna Vernon (Scarborough, Ont.) seven.
Renee Helmer led the Badgers with ten kills and Brianna Hamilton collected seven.
The victory stretches Ryerson’s winning streak to six and boosts their record to 11-3. They’ve also won 11 of their last 12. The Badgers, meanwhile, fall to 3-10.
Up 5-4 in the opening set, Wark strung together eight straight serves (four of which were aces) to put the Rams in control. From there, Kate McIlmoyle (London, Ont.) kept feeding the ball to her many attacking options and they continued to deliver. Eleven kills, only three attacking errors and seven service aces propelled the Rams to a 25-16 triumph to go up 1-0.
In the second, Ryerson continued to serve tough and make life difficult for Brock’s back row. Forcing the Badgers to play out of system more often than not, the Rams built another lead early on and were up 16-9 at the technical timeout.
“I think our team always tries to limit errors as much as possible, like most volleyball teams,” said Ryerson’s head coach Dustin Reid when asked about his squad’s approach from the back line. “In the first half, especially with some of the younger players, they were a bit tentative because they didn’t want to make an error... I think that it’s ironic that we’re missing less serves when we’re being more aggressive, but that’s what happens when you’re relaxed and just able to go free. I think that was a big difference today. It gave us some runs and some separation from Brock.”
The Badgers refused to roll over though. A few attack errors by the Rams and some excellent play by Brock’s Helmer helped them slowly chip away at Ryerson’s advantage. They got to within three on a couple of occasions before a big swat by Vernon wrapped things up. A 25-21 victory in the set gave the Rams a 2-0 advantage.
Looking to make it a short day at the office, they took that momentum into the third set. A Livingston kill sent Ryerson to the technical timeout up 16-9. Then, with the Rams leading 24-12, the Badgers strung together five straight points before a Becky Zeeman (Ottawa, Ont.) kill ended the match and any hopes of a comeback by Brock.
Ryerson has now won their last six regular season meetings with Brock by a combined score of 18-3. Their last loss to the Badgers came on November 5th, 2011 in St. Catharines.
“The key has been just our consistency and our maturity,” said Reid about his team’s recent success. “We started the season with a lot of young players in key roles and some of our veterans in different types of leadership roles. And I feel really strong now that the young players have gained a lot of experience and are playing more relaxed.”
Ryerson will look to continue their strong play on Wednesday when they host the McMaster Marauders (10-3). McMaster is coming off a heartbreaking five set loss to the No. 2 Toronto Varsity Blues (12-0) Saturday afternoon. Up 2-0, they dropped the next three (25-13, 25-11, 19-25, 24-26, 7-15).
“McMaster is a very strong team,” said Reid. “They’re physically talented. They have a great system that they understand well and perform well… I expect McMaster to be at their best. I expect them to be more motivated and maybe more match ready given that things didn’t go their way today.”
First serve is scheduled to fly at 6:00 p.m and will be broadcasted live at OUA.tv.
NOTES: A smash by Wark in the second set made it 8-3 for the Rams at the time and proved to be the 100th U SPORTS kill of the first year’s young career… The combination of a rough afternoon statistically for Toronto’s Alina Dormann (14 kills and nine errors on 61 total attacks in the Varsity Blues’ five set win over McMaster) and a good one for both Vernon and Lauren Veltman (Brampton, Ont.) has resulted in some shifting on the OUA Individual Leaderboard. Vernon now leads the province in hitting percentage (.373), Veltman sits second (.333) and Dormann third (.328). Vernon’s mark is also best in the country… The Rams improve to 6-1 on Coca-Cola Court this season and have won 36 of their last 45 regular season home games.