By Adam Button
For the first time ever, Ryerson men’s volleyball team made it to the national top ten last Wednesday.
However, it’s likely to be a short reign at the number nine spot in the rankings after the Rams met defeat at Waterloo Saturday (25-20, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21).
The high ranking was earned on the strength of Rams play in the York Excalibur tournament earlier this month. In it they knocked off three top-ten teams to win the title.
“They didn’t show up the way I would have liked them to,” said head coach Mirek Porosa after the Waterloo loss. “We were tentative and not aggressive enough with our serve and that’s why we lost.”
A net serve on the game’s final point by left-side Ryan Vandenberg was a fitting end to a Rams match marred by horrendous serving.
Vandenberg and the Rams earned some retribution the following day with a win over Western (23-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-22). In that game, the six-foot-ten Vandenberg was virtually unstoppable. He led all players with 22 kills and only three attacking errors. The Wooler, Ont. native currently leads the nation in kills per game.
“I saw a totally different team,” said Porosa. “They were desperate, poised and hungry to win.”
The win was an important one because it moved the team into eighth place. the Rams are neck-and-neck with McMaster and Western for the sixth and final playoff spot.
In their final five games the Rams need at least three wins to earn a spot in the post-season. The team was virtually a lock for a playoff spot and a shot at a league title when Anton Hauser announced he would rejoin the team prior to the holidays. He was a large part of the reason the Rams won the York tourney. But just before the first league game of 2004 he decided to drop several courses, making him ineligible to paly.
“Anton was the last piece of the puzzle,” said Porosa. “He can basically decide the outcome of matches by himself.”
Team co-captain Sasha Simic, who is in his final year of eligibility, had a heated confrontation with Hauser when he first heard that he wouldn’t rejoin the team.
“I didn’t deal with it well,” said the power hitter. “I may not agree with it, but I understand it. Now, this is the team we have and we’re going to do well with it.”