By Adam Button
the roller coaster the Ryerson Rams men’s volleyball team has been riding all season crashed to a halt on Thursday in Guelph.
in a first round playoff math, the sixth-ranked Rams fell in three straight games to the third-ranked Guelph Gryphons (25,17, 25-21, 25-20).
“We really showed inexperience, it was obvious,” said departing Ram Sasha Simic. “We couldn’t hide our weaknesses or capitalize on their mistakes.”
The Rams biggest weakness, as it has been all season, was horrendous serving. In critical situations, the rams couldn’t put serves in the play.
“The playoffs is a different game,” said head coach Mirek Porosa. “We lost to the better team.”
Guelph served hard and played a nearly-error free game. They were led by Chris Simic who was held to a modest 13 kills. Last year, Simic led the league in kills per game.
However, the turning point of the match came in the second game with the Rams leading 9-5 Guelph won a sideout. Chris Simic then ripped an incredible six straight serves — several of them aces. When the Rams got the ball back they served into the net and missed four more serves on the way to a 25-21 loss.
In the final game the Rams fell behind again. With Sasha Simic serving Ryerson tried to mount a comeback from 22-16. The team pulled to 22-20 on four great serves. With the numerous, enthusiastic Rams fans who made the trip on their feet Simic served a gem that went just over the net and appeared destined to fall on the court for an ace. A Guelph player managed to get a piece of the ball and it shot into the net and trickled over. The Rams were caught flat-footed and the ball fell to the floor.
“I’ll always remember that point,” said Simic. That serve would prove to be his final play as a Ram. “At that point we were in charge for the first time, but we missed our chance.”
Nonetheless, Porosa and the Rams view the season as a success. In the final week of the season the Rams beat top-ranked U of T then defeated McMaster in a do or die game to make the playoffs.
“It’s too bad the story ends tonight,” Porosa said. “A few years ago we had no wins, now we’re in the playoffs and we’ve gained a lot of respect.”
The only departing players for the Rams are Simic and Jeremy Giles. “I am officially retiring,” said Giles who will graduate in April. “I had a lot of good times on the volleyball team but it has come to an end.”
Simic was emotional after the game, but a few days later he talked about how proud he was of the season.
“I was so tired at the end of it all. On Friday, I got really drunk and when I got to the bottom of it, this season was such a high and such a rush.”
He said the future for the team would be bright. “This team is going to realize my dream and be a leader in the league,” he said.