By James Bisson
Before the OUA women’s volleyball playoffs members of the Ryerson Rams said they were just glad to be in the post season.
In the end, however, the devastation of two straight losses against the Guelph Gryphons then the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks, on the weekend was impossible to hide.
After being dropped in the consolation semi final game Saturday, middle Kate Streib stood at centre-court, bent over at the waist and stared at the floor. Teammate Carly Price looked skyward with disgust evident on her face. Even Marijana Curic, known for her happy-go-lucky demeanour on the court, frowned in disapproval.
But although the Rams came home empty-handed in their first ever OUA playoff appearance, the players showed they could compete with the best universities in Ontario.
“Everyone really upped her skill level here,” Elizabeth Reid said after Saturday’s loss. “I think we had a greater level of confidence.”
On Friday night against Guelph, Ryerson kept the first two sets close before bowing out by scores 25-17, 25-19 and 25-10. Reid was given player-of-the-game honours for Ryerson.
The Gryphons, guided by first team OUA West all-stars Mairi Smith and Lyanne Durand, used a power game to disable a nervous Rams squad.
“There were definitely some butterflies,” said coach Arif nathoo who guided the Rams to a 5-5 league record, the best of his five-year tenure. “I had to remind them that it’s still just volleyball, and to just enjoy it.”
In its second game of the tournament, against Wilfred Laurier, Ryerson showed more energy, taking a two sets to one lead. But Laurier turned things around and with the help of Karen Galloway’s 20 kills, won a thriller by scores of 23-25, 25-18, 13-25, 25-10 and 15-9.
Galloway said Ryerson was a worthy opponent.
“We had played them before in a tournament,” she said. “We knew their defence was very good and that they pick up a lot of balls. [Winning] was just a matter of improving our blocking and playing our game.”
Although the Rams were not expected to win the tournament, the result was difficult to bear.
“It would have been naive for us to think we would in it all,” Reid said. “But still…it’s hard [to accept].”
The Rams chances of making the playoffs next year are promising because the entire team will be back.
“We’ll be top four for sure,” Reid said. “We’re gonna be there.”