Rams ready to lock horns in new season

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By Anthony Lopopolo

A new school year means an infusion of fresh faces in lecture halls. The same notion applies to men and women’s sports teams on campus.

As we prepare for the 2009-10 season, the Rams are ready to play to win.

Men’s basketball: After playing their first playoff game since 2003, the Rams lost by a disheartening two points during a first-round encounter against York University. This year they appear to be ushering in a different plan under new head coach Roy Rana.

Women’s basketball: After posting an underwhelming fifth-place finish in the OUA East, the Rams clinched a playoff berth and played into the semifinals. The roster lacked veteran spirit among an influx of rookies.

Men’s hockey: The Rams found it difficult to improve during the 2008-09 season. They posted a 5-22-1 record last year — enough to be the league’s worst — and had trouble converting goals, scoring a meagre 65 in 28 games. Coach Graham Wise, who was hired in 2005, is still in the midst of ironing out the wrinkles.

Women’s hockey: With experienced coach Stephanie White, who was recently selected as an assistant coach of Canada’s National Women’s U-22 team, the women’s hockey team has made some strong strides toward establishing themselves on a competitive plane. The team intends to join the OUA conference of CIS in 2010-11.

Men’s volleyball: The men’s volleyball team finished the season in a heartbreaking fashion, earning an even 10-10 record while falling two points below the playoff mark. For the first time in six years, the Rams did not play beyond the regular season. The upcoming season will be one of redemption.

Women’s volleyball: As part of a threeyear agreement to improve women’s volleyball at Ryerson, Dustin Reid was hired as head coach midway through the 2008-09 season. In spite of their dismal 4-15 record, the Rams are looking to gradually improve over the course of the next few seasons. In the past four years, they failed to surpass the five-win mark or make any significant impact.

Men’s soccer: After recording their first playoff victory last season and finishing fifth spot in the OUA East, the Rams had one of their greatest seasons. At the helm this season is Ivan Joseph, the director of athletics. During early tryout sessions, players already seemed receptive to his approach and coaching technique.

Women’s soccer: Despite missing out on the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, the women’s soccer team has done much in the off-season to foster growth and development. The Rams ventured to Barbados to participate in the team’s first international match in May. Experience gained from that trip will be a facilitator for the upcoming season.

Badminton, fencing, figure skating and rowing: Competition in various provincial-wide tournaments is offered perennially. All four programs boast laurels. The men’s rowing team earned its first gold medal last season, while the figure skating squad won four medals at the OUA championships.

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