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Rams season now sudden death

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Volleyball team lands at York as the dust settles on the OUA playoff picture

By Joel Wass

Jane and Finch isn’t exactly Mr. Rogers’ neighbourhood, but the Ryerson women’s volleyball team is hoping the venue treats them extra special as they set to play at York University in the OUA East division quarter-finals this Thursday.

The Rams are the fourth-seed in the OUA East division and will battle the division’s number one team the Yeowomen.

This scenario does not bode well for Ryerson based on history.

The Rams have struggled against York, winning only once against their cross-city rivals during head coach Arif Nathoo’s seven-year tenure.

Nathoo’s sole victory came in early November when the Rams bumped York 3-1 (25-23, 16-25, 25-22, 25-22) during the team’s second home-game of the year.

The Yeowomen bounced back in January by edging the visiting Rams 3-2 (25-13, 25-17, 18-25, 25-26, 15-13). The loss to York was Ryerson’s first of 2002.

Crashing on the rad has been the marching theme of Ryerson’s season. Throughout the year the Rams dug out only two road victories and haven’t won outside the city since Nov. 23 when they beat the University of Waterloo 3-1 (25-14, 22-25, 25-22, 25-22).

To stand a chance against the powerful York squad, Ryerson will rely on 2001 OUA East All-Star Elizabeth Reid and Jacquie Fler. Reid and Fler blossomed this year and are currently both ranked in the top 10 of the OUA in kills-per-game.

Ryerson players have collectively raised their games by leaps and bounds following November injuries and the January loss of middle hitter Stephanie Brown.

Ryerson won six of its last seven games.

They had a six-game win streak snapped Saturday with another road loss — this time at the hands of Queen’s University. Queen’s kept the Rams in check all year, and are the only OUA East team they haven’t beaten.

Though the team has issued a vow of silence to all Eyeopener reporters, in support of a school-wide boycott, their play will need to speak louder than words if they wish to advance past York on Thursday.

The University of Toronto and Queen’s make up the rest of eastern quarter-final action.

The Varsity Blues are led by the powerful hitting of Sara Pothar and Carrie Schram, while the Golden Gaels rely on digs by leader Stephanie Ward.

Quarter-final winners move on to OUA Final-Four competition which takes place from March 1-2.

The winner of the OUA advances to the CIS Championships hosted by Laval University, from March 7-9.

At press time, the time of the quarter-final game had not been announced.

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