By Michael Grace-Dacosta
Lucas Coleman’s career-high 18 points led the Ryerson men’s volleyball team (2-1) to a straight sets (25-17, 25-19, 26-24) victory over the Queen’s Gaels on Friday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
“Three sets to put up 18 points, 15 kills and hit around .500, that’s incredible,” said Rams head coach Mirek Porosa. “I’m lacking the words to describe how he’s played the first three matches [of the season]”
Coleman leads Ontario University Athletics (OUA) in kills per set with 5.71 and is fifth in hitting percentage at .426.
Outside hitter, Markus Trence, scored a team-high nine points for the Gaels.
The Rams started the game on an 11-4 run powered by Coleman. The Gael’s fought back to make it 16-10 heading into the technical timeout. Rams outside hitter, Robert Wojcik, hit a service ace when play resumed ending any hopes the Gaels’ had of coming back in the frame. The Rams took the set 25-17.
The Rams continued to dominate the Gaels’ in the second set fuelled by Coleman’s six kills in the frame.
“Boy, that Lucas kid is something special,” said Andre Nicholishen, Ryerson Alumni. “Can you believe he’s only in second year?”
The Rams took a 16-11 lead into the technical timeout. The Gaels’ went on a 4-1 run after the timeout to cut the lead down to 17-15. After taking a timeout the Rams responded by going on a 4-0 run and went on to win the set 25-19.
The Rams got off to rough start in the third set going down 11-5 early in the set.
“It’s hard to maintain that [high-level] of energy,” said Coleman. “We knew we were in control of the game [so it was] hard to keep that mental edge.”
Wojcik particularly struggled in the third set and was eventually benched after his third straight error for fifth year outside hitter, George Sakvarelidze. Wojcik did not return to the match.
Wojcik finished the night with seven errors and had a hitting percentage of -.12. Wojcik is hitting .038 per cent on the season and is scoring 2.29 kills per set.
Porsa blames the team changing its style of play to a faster tempo and Wojick being matched up against the biggest blockers because of their setting strategy for his poor start to the season.
“It happens,” said Porsa about Wojcik’s forgettable night. “I know he’s going to bounce back, he’s going to be an important part of the program… it’s just a slow start to the season.”
Wojcik led the team with 267 kills and 3.71 kills per set last season, which ranked him fourth in the OUA and 11th in Canadian Interuniversity Sport.
Sakvarelidze scored five straight points— two kills, two blocks and a service ace to help the Rams battle back. The Rams eventually took a 16-15 lead because a serving error from the Gaels’ Philippe Goyer.
The teams exchanged leads until another Gaels’ error gave the Rams a two-point lead which they would never relinquish. A joint block from middle blocker, Uchenna Ofoha, and Sakvarelidze sealed the set, 26-24, and the game for the Rams.
Sakverelidze only played in one set and scored seven points.
The Rams will their next game against the Royal Military College Paladins at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.