By Josh Beneteau
Lucas Coleman stands at the end of the court, volleyball in hand.
This is his first home game with the Ryerson Rams and he is getting ready to serve against the Mc Master University Marauders. The ball goes up, Coleman swings and it flies too far and lands out-ofbounds.
A few points later, third-year player Brandon Jordan comes off the bench to replace Coleman, ending his first home start near the end of the first set.
“I’m still adjusting to the way Ryerson plays,” Coleman said after the game on Jan. 19.
Coleman, who just turned 19, joined the Rams at the beginning of the month and is expected to be a major contributor to the team.
At the beginning of September, Coleman moved to Utah and started his first semester at Brigham Young University (BYU) – a university known for its prestigious athletics. The idea of playing for the runner up team at last year’s NCAA Championship game was much more alluring than the schools from all across Canada (including Ryerson) that tried to recruit him.
“My ego kind of took over with all the interest from schools in the States,” Coleman said. “I felt like I’d be missing an opportunity if I didn’t at least try it.” But Coleman never actually played a game with the BYU Cougars.
When he was recruited, two other left-side hitters were added to the roster – one of whom trains with the United States national team, the other a former Bulgarian Junior National player.
Coleman was far down on the team’s depth chart. So even if he had stayed at BYU, the rookie Canadian would likely have never played a game during his first season with the team.
But not getting court time wasn’t disheartening for Coleman. By the time BYU played its first exhibition game in December, he had already decided to switch to Ryerson.
“The volleyball at BYU is very high level but everything else about the school I wasn’t really enjoying,” Coleman said. “It wasn’t the university experience I wanted to have.”
BYU has a very religion-oriented campus atmosphere – since it is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For Coleman, religion was never a prominant part of his life at home.
So meeting people outside of volleyball – something that has always been important to him – was hard to do at BYU. Now that Coleman is a Ram, he has found the transition into Ryerson life much easier.
“With the freshmen, it’s pretty easy [to get along] so we hang out a lot,” Coleman said.
He is currently crashing on teammate Alex Dawson’s couch while the two try to find an appartment in the city.
“We don’t usually get guys in the middle of the season but a bunch of us already knew him; we made the transition easy for him,” Dawson said. “He’s a blast to play with and we are having so much fun.”
In high school, Coleman attended an athletic school, Bill Crothers Secondary School, in Markham.
“It’s for elite athletes and everyone there had the same premise of wanting to go very far in sports,” Coleman, who hopes to play volleyball professionally one day, said.
While there, he also played club volleyball, which is where he met many of his fellow Rams. While with the Durham Attack – a team that placed fourth in nationals – Coleman met fellow Rams rookie, Jeff Ardron.
“He’s a solid passer and he can make something out of nothing,” Ardron said. “He’s really versatile with his shots and a smart player.”
Coleman remained in contact with Ardron and another Rams rookie, Adam Anagnostopoulos while at BYU. So when he went home during American Thanksgiving, Coleman met with head coach Mirek Porosa for a tour of Ryerson and signed the papers to transfer shortly after.
“I always knew Ryerson was the perfect fit for me,” Coleman said. “They have the perfect program, professional communications and – volleyball-wise – I always thought it would be a good fit.”
Porosa was very happy to get the call.
“It was a very nice Christmas present,” Porosa said. “Finally I have built a roster that is full of potential and capable of good things.”
Coleman still has to fight to prove he deserves his spot on the court since there are five other leftside hitters on the team. But he said his teammates have been very welcoming and he enjoys the challenge – which is especially hard for him since he hadn’t played a game for months before joining the Rams.
“It’s taking some time [to adjust] but all the guys are great,” Coleman said.