Men’s volleyball takes third place at Brock tourney
By Paul Grossinger
New coach, new players, new attitude — new result.
After years of mediocrity and downright losing, the Ryerson Rams men’s volleyball team has finally gained respectability with a third place finish at last week’s Brock Invitational Tournament in St. Catharines.
Entering the weekend with three rookies, including highly-recruited power-hitter Ryan McNeil, the Rams were unsure of what to expect over the weekend.
But during Saturday’s pool play, it became evident that to be successful the Rams needed to become a cohesive unit.
After winning the first match against Durham College 2 games to 1, the Rams were sluggish and sloppy in their second match, losing to their OUAA East rival, the Laurentian Voyageurs.
Ater some strong words from first-year coach Mirek Porosa and manager Semih Hacioglu, the Rams started their third match of the day with renewed enthusiasm.
Playing in the Brock Badgers for first place in Pool A, the Rams overpowered the host team. With some key blocks from rookie Matt Rice and thundering hits from McNeil—who hit from front court, back court, and sometimes off the court — the Rams dominated a shocked Badgers team in every aspect of the game.
Riding an emotional high and with a small bench, Porosa was forced to leave McNeil and Paul Grossinger on the court for every minute of every game on Saturday. The Rams began their semi-final game on Sunday against the U.B.C. Thunderbirds physically tired and mentally drained.
The Thunderbirds quickly disposed of the Rams, 3 games to none. The Rams didn’t help their cause with inconsistent and often pathetic servicing, numerous hitting and setting errors which forced them to play catch-up the entire match.
After mulling over their semi-final defeat for a few hours, the Rams entered their final match with an opportunity to win a medal — something that returning players had never experienced.
Playing Brock once again, the Rams were physically and mentally spent. After splitting the first two games of the match, the Rams raised their intensity and level of play to win the next two.
Strong defence, tough serving, and a simple offence, the Rams were able to overcome their fatigue and win the bronze medal.