HAMILTON, Ont. - An exuberant effort put forth by the Ryerson Rams men’s volleyball team made things interesting throughout their semifinal meeting with one of the country's best in the McMaster Marauders.
However, the Marauders proved once again that their unscathed record throughout the regular season was no fluke Friday night, and swept away the Rams (17-25, 26-28, 19-25) to book their ticket to the OUA Final, as well as a berth at nationals in Edmonton next weekend.
The Rams saw prolific efforts from the likes of veterans Lucas Coleman, Uchenna Ofoha, and Adam Anagnostopoulos throughout the night. But as a collaborative whole, the Rams just didn’t have quite enough to get over the hump in order to steal a timely set against the Marauders.
Coleman finished the evening with a game-high 17 kills while Ofoha had an efficient night in going 8 for 11 for an efficiency of 64% from the floor. Anagnostopoulos finished the night with 35 assists.
The terrific trio of Brandon Koppers, Danny Demyanenko, and Jason McCarthy combined for 36 of the Marauders 51 kills by games end. The quick-set-kill worked wonders for the three throughout the match and was the undeniable difference in the semifinal sweep.
The Rams sputtered out of the gate and fell behind the eight ball early to trail 16-10 at the tech timeout. A series of errors on behalf of the Marauders and a pair of Ofoha kills got the Rams to within four at 17-21 late in the set.
Demyanenko put an end to the Rams’ late set comeback and knocked down the first of four straight kills by the Marauders. Koppers mirrored Demyanenko with two straight kills followed by a kill from Andrew Richards for the Marauders to take a 17-25 first set victory.
The second set was the stage for what turned out to be some unbelievable playoff volleyball between two of the OUA’s best. After the Rams fell behind 13-16 at the tech timeout once again, they managed to regroup as a complete unit en route to a late second set surge.
Excellent serving from the Rams began to take its toll on the defending champion Marauders, as well as the newfound success of a flying Brendan Kewin from the back row for kills. The Rams found themselves down 14-20 late in the second, but on the back of Coleman’s nine kills in the set, the Rams managed to fight back and climb to within one at 21-22.
The Rams kept feeding the beast that was Coleman, who found the floor for three straight kills to give the Rams their first lead of the evening at 26-25. At set point, the Marauders refused to give up the set, and after kills from Demyanenko and Koppers, a set deciding attack error from Coleman ended the late second set surge and gave the Marauders the 26-28 second set victory.
The even play continued into the third set with the Rams and Marauders dead locked at 7-7 early. A series of Marauders kills and Rams errors forced Rams’ coach Matt Harris to call a timeout down 7-12.
The sloppy play continued throughout the remainder of the set as the Marauders handcuffed the Rams for a number of key errors on route to their defeat. The Rams got to within five at 19-24, but a long serve off the spike of Kewin put a bow on the matter as the No. 3 nationally ranked Marauders completed the sweep over the Rams.
After reaching nationals for the first time in programshistory last season, the Rams have officially been eliminated from contention. There is more volleyball to be played this season however, as they face the Guelph Gryphons for OUA bronze Saturday night.