By John Mather
Revenge may be tasty, but it sure doesn’t come easy.
The men’s volleyball team learned this first hand on Saturday, Jan. 21 when they edged out a victory against McMaster in the fifth set. “Volleyball is a game of momentum and they took momentum from us in the second (set),” coach Mirek Porosa said after the game.
“I told them just play your game. And today we persevered.” The win solidified the Rams’ number one spot in the Ontario University Association (OUA) standings and was redemption for a Nov. 27, 2005 game when McMaster handed the men their first regular season loss in five sets.
“We knew we needed to win this game and it was in the back of everyone’s mind,” said middle Nic Beaver. “We want to be number one in (Ontario) and I think we showed we are today.”
Ryerson’s dominant play in the first set, which they won 25-21, was led by Matt Fugard and rookie Oleh Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk’s play tapered off in the second set and the rest of the squad struggled against an explosive McMaster offensive, who took the set 26-24. The third set was marked by more frustration from the Rams and they dropped it 25-22. With a potential loss looming, the Rams overcame their mental lapse in the fourth set and rallied to win 27-15.
“Mental toughness is what got us through the game,” said Beaver, who earned 12 kills. In the final set Ryerson showed why they are ranked eighth in the country winning 15-9. Ryan Vandenburg delivered consecutive kills, adding to his total of 24 for the game.
“There was never a point in the game where you felt you were ahead and had a comfortable lead,” said libero Lukas Porosa. “Each team was dangerous.”