By Daniel Rocchi
Ryerson’s women’s volleyball team defeated the Lakehead Thunderwolves 3-1 (18-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-18) at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Saturday night.
Veronica Livingston led the offence for the Rams (4-2) with 13 kills, Lauren Ebenhardt chipped in 38 assists and Krystyna Ng was a difference-maker defensively with 10 digs and an assist.
Jennifer Casey had a team-high 20 kills for Lakehead, while Sarah Reid had 18 digs.
“Lakehead’s a tough team to play against,” said Ryerson head coach Dustin Reid. “They frustrate teams a lot, so to be patient and to last as long as we needed to win was really good for our group. I don’t think we played our best volleyball, but we’re happy to get the win today.”
The Thunderwolves looked strong early, playing with a multi-point lead for most of the first set and winning it by a score of 25-18.
But the Rams answered with a 25-20 victory in the second, and didn’t trail their opponents once after overcoming a trio of one-point Lakehead leads in the first four rallies.
Ryerson continued to dictate play offensively in the second half of the match, as the Thunderwolves proved unable to take the lead at any point in the third and fourth sets en route to their first loss of the season.
Lakehead had plenty of opportunities to get back into the match as the Rams repeatedly allowed considerable leads to shrink to one and two-point advantages, but Reid didn’t seem particularly concerned about his team’s play with the lead.
“I think in the third and fourth sets we managed it pretty well,” said Reid. “We weren’t spectacular, but we didn’t make mistakes and we made Lakehead have to score the points that they were going to get and earn them, so I think that played a part in us winning.”
The Rams victory comes on the heels of a 3-2 loss to the Guelph Griffins on Friday night, and marks just their second triumph in their last six contests against the Thunderwolves dating back to the 2010-2011 season.
“It feels pretty good,” said outside hitter Chelsea Jensen. “We lost to Lakehead a couple times before and it was always a really frustrating loss so beating them today was really nice.”
With the win, the Rams move into a tie with York University for first place in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East division standings, and will be looking to build on their success in their upcoming tilt with the Waterloo Warriors.
“I think this week is super important,” said middle blocker Kristina Vlcek. “Last week we sort of had a slow type of training, which showed a little in the game. But as long as we train hard this week and come out strong to every practice, I think we can beat Waterloo.”
Ryerson takes on the Warriors next Saturday at 8 p.m. at the University of Waterloo’s Physical Activities Complex.