The Rams (6-9-1) enter the OUA playoffs as the sixth-seed, and will play the third-place Toronto Varsity Blues (11-2-3) while the Laurentian Lady Vees (7-5-4) and Carleton Ravens (8-6-2) will do battle in the East's other one-game elimination match earlier on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. The defending CIS champion Queen's Gaels as well as the Ottawa Gee Gees have earned first round byes after finishing the regular season in first and second place respectively.
The downtown rivals are meeting for the third time on Wednesday, as the Blues came out on top in both conference matches during the year.
Ryerson had strong starts and controlled much of the play through the first 45 minutes in their two meetings, only to have the Blues surge in the second to win the games.
In their first match on September 18, the women attacked the Blues defense consistently in the first half hour, but were unable to connect for a marker. Toronto's captain Diana Esteireiro notched two goals off free kicks, leading the Blues to a 3-0 victory.
Former CIS all-Canadian Andrea Raso (Etobicoke, Ont.) opened the scoring in the second contest on October 16 between the two squads with a great individual effort and shot that stunned the Blues in the first half. However, the experienced Toronto squad took over the game in the second 45 minutes, and eventually broke through with two markers despite a strong performance by Katrina Persson-Thomas (Vancouver).
The Blues are headlined by Queen's transfer Eilish McConville. The Ottawa native scored 10 goals for Toronto this season, and is a former CIS all-Canadian.
For the Rams to be successful, they will have to do their best to contain the fifth-year striker, who scored the game-winning goal when the teams last played.
They will also need strong performances by veterans Raso and Kendra Welham (Oakville, Ont.). The team scoring leaders and co-captains, who are in their final year of eligibility, will be integral to the Rams success against the Blues.
Rookie center-defender Sarah Slattery (St. Catharines, Ont.) will need to be on her toes with McConville lurking in the Ryerson backfield, while midfielders Erica Huculak (Barrie, Ont.) and Kristen Horgan-Smith (Newmarket, Ont.) will also have to come up with strong games for Ryerson.
The Rams have never defeated the Varsity Blues in conference play, and this is the first playoff meeting between the teams.
Ryerson and the Blues will do battle Wednesday evening at Varsity Centre. The opening whistle is set for 6:00 p.m. You can watch the game live online here.