By Matt Flemming
He’s six-foot-ten and when he winds up for a spike, look out. Second-year right side Ryan Vandenburg dominated the Ryerson men’s volleyball team against the McMaster Marauders on Saturday, leading all players with 33 kills.
Unfortunately, despite Vandenburg’s dominance, the Marauders won the game in four sets simply because the Rams show themselves in the foot time and time again with unforced errors.
“Even though we didn’t pass or set each other up effectively, we still should’ve beat Mac,” said Vandenburg.
Consistency and focus appeared to be major problems. The Rams would look fantastic for a few plays, then collapse. The Rams had 15 service errors while the Marauders only had one.
Ryerson coach Mirek Porosa wasn’t too happy with the team’s performance.
“We don’t play to our potential. It’s just pressure and nervousness that’s making it difficult for us to win,” said Porosa. “We should have beat that team, but we’ve just been beating ourselves.”
Vandenburg carried the Rams’ offence. His 58 total attacks and 33 kills were more than all the other Rams combined. Fifth-year power Sasha Simic had 12 kills and 22 total attacks.
Coach Porosa said the nervousness and lack of consistency was due to the Rams being a very young team. Eight of the Rams’ 13 players are rookies.
“We just need more games to learn to play with confidence and play more efficiently. We need to cut down on unforced errors,” said Porosa.
The Rams just couldn’t seem to win the long rallies which swung the momentum into the Marauder’s favour.
In the first set, the Rams held a 22-20 lead but the Marauders rallied to win the set 26-24. It was the Marauders blockers who made the difference in the set. They didn’t allow the Rams to gain any momentum and made crucial plays at key times.
McMaster led for almost the entire set, but Vandenburg kept the game close with kill after kill for Ryerson.
Ryerson won the third set 25-22 but the set was far closer than it should have been. The lead was as many as six points, and the Rams led 23-19 until McMaster coach David Preston took a timeout. Once the game resumed, the Rams appeared lackadaisical, as McMaster got three quick points. However, the Rams hung on and took the set 25-22.
The Rams seemed to be gaining momentum and appeared to be executing more efficiently and making fewer errors and even led the set 23-21 before McMaster scored four quick points to take the set and the match three sets to one.
First-year Ram middle Mark Spehr believes the team can play better.
“There’s no defects in our team, it’s just a matter of execution and when we start to execute, we’re very powerful.”
Steve Murray led the Marauders with 23 kills. McMaster coach David Preston was satisfied with the win but wasn’t thrilled with his team’s performance.
“We gutted out a couple points, and we got key points at key times. We didn’t do anything well, but didn’t do anything poorly either.”
The loss drops Ryerson to 1-4 this season while McMaster improves to 3-3.
The Rams bounced back on Sunday, beating Western in five sets.
“We needed that win. We played together as a team,” said Vandenburg.