By Michael Grace-Dacosta
The Ryerson women’s volleyball team swept (25-18, 25-23, 25-22) the Brock University Badgers Sunday afternoon at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
“It was a tough match for us today [after] coming back at midnight last night from Ottawa, so [I’m] really, really happy with the level of energy and intensity that they brought,” said Rams head coach Dustin Reid. “We had our struggles but we won the points that mattered today.”
Middle blocker Chelsea Briscoe led the Rams (12-5) with a game-high 11 kills and fellow middle Kristina Vlcek made 10.
Shenise Power led the way for the Badgers (6-12) with 11 kills and Ryerson’s Karlinna O’Leary had an incredible 20 digs in a losing effort.
“[O’Leary] is a really great libero,” said head coach Reid. “She’s aggressive [and] she tries to take up a lot of area in serve-receive.”
O’Leary is second in the OUA for digs per game, with 4.3.
The Rams trailed out of the gate in all three sets.
In the first set, the Rams fell 15-10 before going on a 15-3 run to end it. The second set was the same story as the Rams trailed 12-4 at the beginning before unloading a monstrous 20-11 run to win the frame.
Outside hitter Veronica Livingston, who’s led the Rams in kills and points for most of the season, was pulled from the game in the second set during Brock’s opening run and did not return.
“She was going for some shots and made a few errors. I think we felt at that moment in the match we needed to make sure the balls were in the court because our blocking and defense was performing well,” said head coach Reid. “I know [Livingston] is going to bounce back and perform for us when we need her.”
Livingston finished the game tied for a game-high seven errors. Alexandra Whyte replaced her and finished with four kills.
The Rams started the final set with a 10-4 deficit before going on a 12-5 run to lead 16-15 at the technical timeout. Both teams traded points down the stretch before the Badgers eventually took a 22-20 lead. The Rams battled back and won the set on a service ace from setter Emily Betteridge.
“In each one of the sets… we struggled in the beginning [and] made too many errors,” head coach Reid said. “For whatever reason, towards the end we had a lot of confidence in our ability to perform so that’s a great thing.”
Seniors Chelsea Jensen and Krystyna Ng were honoured prior to the game — Sunday was the final home game for the Rams this season.
“[Ng and Jensen] were both players here when we went through some pretty tough times,” head coach Reid said. “They’ve made massive contributions on the floor and I would say even bigger contributions away from the floor in helping us establish a culture that we can be proud of here.”
Ng had one of her best performances of the season as she finished with a team-high 12 digs.
“It was fun for sure, it couldn’t have ended in a better way,” Ng said. “It could have been emotional but I think [Jensen] and I were just trying to keep it light and keep it as a good atmosphere.”
Jensen left the game in the second set with a right shoulder injury. Reid said Jensen had been nursing some shoulder soreness for a while now but he wanted to give her the chance to play on senior night.
The Rams will play their final two games of the regular season on the road next weekend against the Royal Military College Paladins (6-11) and the Queen’s University Gaels (9-8).