By Adam Button
Tonight will be the best or worst part of the men’s volleyball team captain Elisio Subranni’s career at Ryerson – and he won’t even be on the volleyball court.
Sometime around 10 p.m. tonight, the middle in his final year of eligibility will check the Ontario University Athletics’ website to find out if his volleyball career will live on.
The Rams quality for the playoffs if McMaster University beats the University of Western Ontario tonight.
That is a very real possibility. Earlier this season, Western barely edged out McMaster 3-2 (25-14, 21-25, 25-16, 18-25, 16-14), and the Mustangs will have to win again in order to get into the playoffs, McMaster, on the other hand, is playing only for pride.
Subranni believes the history between the teams will motivate McMaster. “There is a lot of bad blood between those teams,” he said.
At the end of last season, Western didn’t renew the contract of head coach Dave Preston even though he led the team to five straight divisional championships. He moved to Mac and has vowed to make the Marauders better than the team that let him go.
Because of a four-way tie for the final two playoff spots, the Rams thought they were in and out of the playoffs all weekend. The tight race and confusion about tie-breaking procedures led the team to believe they had to win both their games on the weekend, plus get help from other teams.
That plan started well on Friday night when they spanked McMaster 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-15) in their most lop-sided win of the season.
The Rams thought they also had to win against York on Sunday to have a chance at the playoffs. But they couldn’t consistently serve or pass and lost 3-1 (25-18, 25-27, 25-19, 29-27). It turns out that game wouldn’t have affected the standings.
At the time Subranni thought Sunday’s loss was the end of his career. “I was heartbroken,” he said. “I was teary-eyed.”
But later that night Subranni got an e-mail that detailed how the Rams could still get in the playoffs.
“There’s hope, I’m excited,” he said.
Still, he said the Rams let fate slip through their hands. “If we don’t make the playoffs it won’t be because of the loss to York,” he said. “The reason we aren’t in the playoffs is because we lost games we should have won.”
The worst Rams loss was to Laurier earlier in the season, the only win of the season for the Golden Hawks. Other losses to Windsor and Waterloo also wounded the Rams. It was part of an inconsistent season, where the Rams were able to win the most sets against the league’s best team (U of T) and lose the most sets against the league’s worst (Laurier).
The bright spot for the weekend was the return of setter Lukas Porosa to the lineup against York.
Porosa missed the previous four games with an ankle injury but said he will be ready if the Rams make the playoffs.
If Mac beats Western, the Rams won’t have much time to celebrate. The playoffs begin Saturday and the Rams would have to travel to Queen’s for a one-game showdown. Right-side Ryan Vandenburg hasn’t made hotel reservations yet, and is trying not to think about the playoffs.
“[Making the playoffs] would be fun,” he said> “I’d love that, but it’s not in our hands anymore.”
The team’s head coach Mirek Porosa said that he foresaw the Rams season coming down to something like this.
“I had a dream that we were going to get in somehow, through the back door,” he said.