By Andriana Guigova
The Ryerson women’s volleyball team hosted the Fila Invitational Tournament over the weekend and came away with a sixth-place finish.
The squad suffered a heartbreaking loss in their final game to the McMaster University Marauders, losing in 3-2 sets. The loss capped a difficult tournament for the team, as they picked up only one win in five games.
The girls lost 2-1 sets to both Laurier University and Queen’s University on Friday and then again to the University of Ottawa on Saturday morning. Their lone win came over York University in 3-2 sets on Saturday afternoon.
Rams head coach Arif Nathoo said that letting McMaster oust them from fifth place during Sunday’s consolation game was disappointing, but that the rankings didn’t matter all that much. “I had expectations to be on top [of the McMaster game]. But the goal of the tournament was to learn,” he said. “We can’t let this game bring us down.”
Nathoo added that the team will focus on the positives of the competition, mainly Ryerson’s triumphover the highly-ranked team from York. “I was very happy with the way we played,” said Nathoo of defeating York, citing it as the best moment of the tournament. Beating a Ryerson rival did wonders for the players’ confidence as well.
“It was a huge pick-up. It gave us a shot of confidence,” said a smiling Jackie Vandinther.
But the momentum from triumphing over York failed to carry through to Sunday. Facing a McMaster team with a comparable skill level, Ryerson did everything but win.
Taking the first set thanks to solid blocks and great spikes, the Rams lost the second as McMaster picked up its own defensive play. The third set was by far the most exciting, as Ryerson right side Tara Di Giuseppe served through an 8-0 lead.
In the fourth set, the score was so close that it was tied a total of 12 times, but the Marauders escaped a loss by just two points. Then, in the deciding set, Ryerson watched a 4-0 lead disappear as McMaster punished them for every open space and leapt out to a five-point advantage.
Ryerson battled back, cutting their opponent’s lead to just one point, before eventually falling 12-15.
“I knew we’d come out strong and that we could beat them,” said Vandinther, adding that a few mistakes proved to be very costly.
“Missing serves, shanking balls, hitting the net right after a timeout these are things which should never happen.”
Even though the team fell short of Nathoo’s expectation of a fourth or fifth place finish, he said the tournament helped the team jell and size-up their competition for the regular season.
“We know we have to fight really hard,” said sophomore Di Giuseppe, a nominee last year for Ryerson female rookie of the year.
“[We were hoping to] learn to play much more as a team and learn to work together,” said Alyson Mann.
The Rams next games are Oct. 8 when the team travels to Hamilton for the McMaster Tournament.