By Noah Love
Men’s volleyball coach Mirek Porosa has learned an important lesson in his five years behind the Rams’ bench: Success takes time.
When the Poland native arrived at Ryerson in 1995, he has 17 years of international coaching experience under his belt and he hoped to build a winning program immediately.
So far, the results have been frustrating.
“It’s different than in Europe,” Porosa said in his office before a team practice last Friday night. “You have to be patient because you can’t build a winning team in one year.”
When Porosa began at the school recruited heavily and his efforts helped the team earn a playoff berth in 1997. But the recruiting backfired. Three of the Rams’ four star rookies from the squad were lost to academic suspensions the next year. The men’s volleyball program has been on shaky ground ever since. Its OUA league record the past two years is 1-23.
Finally, though, Porosa believes things are looking up. The weekends ago, the earned its first exhibition tournament exhibition tournament medal in more than two years when it places second in a Durham College event for college and university teams.
“This year I have five returning players,” he said with a grin. “It’s a lot different from the last few years where we’ve lost most of the lineup from the last season.”
The returning players include second-year power Sasha Simic and third-year right cross Jesse Tsang. Porosa expects both tournament all-stars to provide leadership this year.
“Sasha has really improved as a player and I like the way he acts on and off the court,” Porosa said of the business student. “Jesse Tsang has been very consistent for the last few weeks.”
This improvement could be attributed to the work ethic Porosa demands of his players.
At Friday’s practice he paced up and down the court like a military sergeant, yelling order to his troops each time they started to slack off.
“His attitudes in our practices reflect out toughness on the court,” said Karl Venemore, a second-year setter.
Unfortunately, over the weekend the Rams didn’t play as tough as they intend to this year.
The team opened its OUA regular season with a 3-0 loss to the Guelph Gryphons on Saturday and followed it with a 3-1 loss to the McMaster Marauders on Sunday. Still, Porosa was upbeat about his team’s effort in the second game.
“We stunk against Guelph, but McMaster was different,” Porosa said. “That game could have gone either way and I was happy because we played as a team.”
If players can keep the on-court chemistry this year, they believe they’ll be contending for a playoff spot by the time their 12-game regular season draws to a close in February.
The Rams’ next action is this Saturday, when they travel to Kingston to play Queen’s (1-0). Their home opener is Tuesday at 8 p.m. against York University (1-0) in Kerr gym.