By Steve Petrick
Not too long ago seeing Ryerson’s women’s volleyball team in a tournament’s semifinal game would have been phenomenal.
The feat would be so astonishing the game’s final score wouldn’t even matter.
But on Sunday the Rams had to hold back their tears after being slaughtered by the U of T Varsity Blues 3-0 in the penultimate game of their own tournament.
The loss —by scores of 25-6, 25-15 and 25-20 — was a big letdown considering Ryerson beat the Blues 3-1 in a two-and-a-half hour marathon game the previous night.
“We played well in [Saturday’s] games,” said offside Carly Price, who’s in her fourth year with the team. “But to come here and lose like we did, without breaking a sweat, is disappointing.”
The Rams’ loss to their OUA East rivals, who finished second last season, took just over an hour and ensured Ryerson won’t be favoured to win the division this year.
But the fact the Rams won three preliminary-round shows how far the women’s volleyball program has come.
Two years ago the Rams had a dismal 1-11 league record. Last year the team improved to 5-5 and, with a third-place finish, qualified for the OUA playoff tournament for the first time in its history.
The Rams were eliminated from the tournament that year after losing their first two games.
Because eight of nine players from last season’s roster are back, including OUA East Division second-team all-stars, Elizabeth Reid and Marijana Curic, the Rams are aiming to place at least second this year.
That’s why Sunday’s loss to U of T overshadowed the fact that Ryerson beat both Queen’s and McMaster universities by 3-1 scores on the weekend. The Rams also gave tournament winner York University a fight on Saturday, but ended up losing 3-1.
“Ryerson’s never gotten respect because we haven’t been prominent in the volleyball scene,” Price said. “Those were big wins, but by beating U of T [Saturday] and coming out [Sunday] and losing three straight people will look at this like a fluke.
“We don’t want to be known as a fluke team. We have the skills, we just have to learn how to be more consistent.”