Top left: Ashley Koehan holds an orange ball. Bottom left: Volleyball (M) hopes for one win. Top right: Women aim for playoffs. Bottom right: The McMillan Bros.

Eyeopener file photos

The Ryerson athletics story so far…

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It’s halfway through most team’s seasons. So how do the Rams stack up? Near the middle.

The Hockey News 

What did they do for Christmas? When we last left our Rams, they were a very respectable 6-6-0, good enough for top spot in the OUA Midwest division.

Kicking off 2002 with wins against the University of Ottawa and McGill University would have solidified their dark-horse reputation, but neither materialized. The Rams lost 5-3 to Ottawa, and then a day later they dropped a 4-2 decision to McGill. At home.

The good news? There’s plenty. The McMillan brothers, Greg and Mark, have combined for 41 points in the team’s 14 games. Goalie Jon Sikemma is among the best in Canada.

The best news, however, is that the Rams are in the worst division in Ontario. Their record is 6-8-0 and they have 12 points. That is one better than the University of Toronto Blues, who are 4-7-3 and have only 11.

What do they need now? Simply play consistent hockey. The top three teams in the division make the playoffs. The Rams are in fine shape if they can collect a few more wins. Goalie Sikemma is among the best in Canada.

The Basketball Diaries

What the men’s team did for Christmas: Ryerson hosted the Ed DeArmon tournament, something they do every other year at Christmas. The tourney featured national stars like McGill, Brandon University, and local leaders York University.

They lost 80-74 in a semi-final against the University of Windsor, who nearly beat favourites, Brandon in the final. Ryerson rebounded to beat the York Yeomen 82-77.

Jan-Michael Nation scored 39 points in the game against the Rams’ arch-nemesis. It’s only too bad the win didn’t mean more than third place in an exhibition tournament.

Ryerson would like to move into the top 10 before the end of the season.

How could they do that? The team’s league losses to the third-ranked University of Western and ninth ranked York showed they are having trouble competing with the best.

They need to beat a great team like Carleton if they want people to pay more attention to them. The tournament result could be a sign of things to come.

And the women’s team: The women had a healthy and happy first half. The result was a pleasant 5-3 record, which they will hope to build on in the second half.

The Rams got big wins against quality teams like York, Toronto, and Queen’s University. They fought until the last second for a one point victory over Toronto.

Still, Ryerson was outclassed by 13 points to powerhouse teams like Western and Laurentian University.

On the other hand, 13 points is leagues better than some of last year’s 50-point losses.

Tamara Alleyne-Gittens has become a bonafide star for the team, averaging 15.2 points and 7.7 rebounds-per-game.

Karina Navarro and Ashley Koehan are also averaging over 10 points-per-game for the team, which needs only one more victory to surpass their 2000-01 total.

What’s next? Likely their first playoff appearance in two years (and dinner, courtesy of The Eyeopener).

The women’s team ran into major injury problems at the end of last season. Head coach Sandra Pothier’s bench cannot get shorter.

Game, Set, Volleyball

The women won a tournament for Christmas: As a belated Christmas gift, the women’s team treated themselves to a smattering of bottom-feeding teams at the Durham College Tournament.

The Rams barely broke a sweat, claiming all of their matches without losing a set, beating lowly Humber College in the final.

Now they come back to the OUA where their 4-5 record is only good enough for last place in the east division. They need more consistency in the second half to improve their position.

Coach Arif Nathoo had to deal with an armful of injuries to key players and was constantly shuffling his deck looking for the right combination.

Jacquie Fler and Stephanie Brown were tow bright spots in the first nine games. Mirjana Curic and team captain Liz Reid also had strong games for Ryerson.

Last place? This team is clearly talented, but their passing has been weak. First place is only three games away, and the Rams have already shown they are capable of beating the best, after a big upset over first place York. They could break out in 2002.

And the men went to Cuba! “We go to Cuba and play a lot better after the break,” said team captain Sasha Simic before men departed.

The good news for the team is that, even at 0-8, they have not yet been eliminated from the playoffs. Yet.

For the Rams to see postseason action, they would have to win their last seven games and one of Queen’s, York, or Toronto would have to lose all of their remaining games.

By the way, Queen’s and York are among the top 10 in Canada and Toronto isn’t far off. Translated, this is probably a pipe dream.

The bright spots are rookies Anton Hauser and Lukas Porosa. Hauser is third in Canada in kills-per-game, while Lukas, coach Mirek Porosa’s son, has obvious chemistry with perennial all-star Simic.

The Rams are nowhere to be found in the OUA’s defensive leaders. This could have something to do with their record.

Playing out the string: Ryerson players will focus on breaking the team’s losing streak, which dates back to the 1999-2000 season.

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