By Daniel Rocchi
The Ryerson men’s volleyball team (6-3) would have moved into a tie for top spot in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) with their fourth-straight win on Wednesday night.
Instead, the McMaster Marauders stole that honour on the road.
Ryerson fell in a close 3-0 (23-25, 23-25, 28-30) contest for the second time this season against the defending national bronze medalists at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC). The Rams are third in the OUA with 12 points. McMaster (7-1) remains undefeated since dropping its season opener against Western and climbs to first in the OUA with 14 points and a game in hand over Guelph.
“It’s disappointing to lose a game when you’re so close with a team that’s ranked second in the country,” said Ryerson head coach Mirek Porosa. “But you’ve got to swallow this kind of defeat and move forward.”
Rams outside hitter Robert Wojcik had a team-high 13 kills while fellow outside Alex Dawson had five digs and eight kills. Middle hitter Danny Demyanenko had 13 killa and libero Pawel Jedrzejewski had seven digs for McMaster.
Ryerson started the match aggressively, but an offensive game plan centred on hard spikes led to an early McMaster lead as the Rams fired hits long. The Marauders held a 22-17 advantage
late in the first set, but Ryerson managed to pull within one before an attempted Ryerson block put the ball out of bounds to give the visitors a 25-23 win and a 1-0 lead.
The Rams rebounded in the second set, grabbing a 9-6 lead. But Ryerson celebrated what they thought was a tenth point and the Marauders caught them off guard, playing the ball off the net to spark a McMaster come-back. The Marauders scored three consecutive points following the Rams’ misplay, wresting the lead from the home team to score another 25-23 decision and a 2-0 edge.
The third set was a fiery affair. Trying to force a fourth set, Ryerson leaned on strong blocking and serving to keep pace with McMaster. The teams traded single points through the set, many of them scored only after long rallies and multiple attack attempts. Neither team was able to take an advantage late as the score ballooned. But the Marauders finally shattered Ryerson’s defences, scoring two quick points to secure the set, 30-28, and the match.
“It sucks to lose but it’s also a really positive thing that we can hang in there and take that last set to 30 points,” said Dawson. “If we improve a bit, fix some stuff up on our side, we really have a shot at winning this thing.”
Ryerson next faces the Western Mustangs on Friday, Nov. 28 at 6 p.m at the MAC. Ryerson’s last game of 2014 is the next night at home against the Windsor Lancers.