By Michael Grace-Dacosta
The Ryerson Rams women’s volleyball team shook off a rough start to win their season opener 3-1 (3-25, 25-16, 34-32, 25-19) over the Toronto Varsity Blues at the Mattamy Athletic Centre Friday night.
Chelsea Briscoe led the Rams with a team-high 12 kills and Veronica Livingston and Kristina Vlcek each had 10 kills.
Things didn’t look good early as the Rams were humiliated in the first set 25-3.
“Those things happen in our game,” said Rams head coach Dustin Reid. “We were clearly nervous and didn’t respond very well in the first set.”
Vlcek took over the game in the second set coming up with a lot of key kills and blocks in the frame, as the Rams won 25-16.
“[Vlcek] gave us an emotional lift when we needed it,” said Reid. “She raised our spirits and raised our confidence level in the middle of the match.”
The third set was an amazing back and forth affair that had the fans on the edge of their seats.
With Toronto up 25-24 Ryerson’s Emily Nicholishen got a clutch kill to tie the game. The Rams would then go up one on a miss play from Toronto on their serve. Toronto’s Tessa Davis then tied the game on a huge kill.
The teams exchanged leads until eventually the Rams won the set 34-32 when a Toronto serve went out of bounds.
“It was an important turning point,” said Reid on winning the third set. “Clearly that affected Toronto’s morale. They didn’t come out as energetic in the fourth set.”
The Rams went on an 11-3 run to begin the fourth set and finished with a 25-19 win.
Vlcek played her first game for Ryerson, and her first indoor volleyball game in two years, on Friday night. Vlcek spent the last two years playing beach volleyball full-time.
“I think I did okay,” said Vlcek on her performance. “I think did a good job on blocking and that’s big because normally I’m not a good blocker.”
The Rams next play host to the McMaster Marauders on Oct. 19 in Hamilton, Ont.