The Rams celebrate their five set victory over McMaster in the OUA quarterfinals. (Charles Vanegas / The Eyeopener)

Women’s volleyball wins, advances to OUA Final Four

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By Pamela Johnston

The Ryerson women’s volleyball team advanced to the OUA Final Four on Saturday after a thrilling, come-from-behind fifth set victory over the McMaster Marauders.

The Rams led by one after winning the first set 25-23, but struggled to maintain their rhythm in the second and third sets, losing both.

“From the end of the second set through the middle of the third set… McMaster played really well,” said head coach Dustin Reid. “I think we were questioning our own confidence a little bit during that time.”

But the Rams made their comeback in the fourth, winning 25-20 after completely outplaying McMaster both on the attack and defensively.

“I think the response was huge,” said second-year outside hitter Alexandra Whyte, who led the team with 12 kills and 18 digs. “The fourth set was really big for us because we were able to get momentum and really come out strong.”

With second-year outside hitter Emily Nicholishen saving her best for the fifth and final set, the Rams got off to quick start and never trailed — winning 15-9.

“She’s got such great spirit and great energy, and the longer the match went, the better she played,” said Reid.

After fourth-year hitter Chelsea Jensen closed out the victory with a service ace, Ryerson fans stormed the court.

“We’re pretty comfortable with playing long matches, that’s always been our strength as a team,” said Nicholishen.

The Rams will play in the OUA Final Four, hosted by York University — the top seed in the conference — on Feb. 22-23.

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