By Daniel Rocchi
Last weekend, the Ryerson women’s volleyball team (7-1) lost one set in two games on the road against York and Nipissing.
On Wednesday night, they proved they’re just as deadly on their own turf.
Ryerson defeated the defending Ontatio University Athletic (OUA) champion McMaster Marauders (MAC) in a tight 3-0 (25-19, 27-25, 25-23) decision at the Mattamy Athletic Centre en route to their third straight win.
“It’s a great win for us,” said Rams head coach Dustin Reid. “I’m not sure it was our best performance, but I’m proud of the way we handled the tough moments.”
Ryerson outside hitter Veronica Livingston had a game-high 13 kills while setter Emily Betteridge led the team with 12 digs. Hitters Maicee Sorensen and Lauren Mastroluisi led McMaster with 12 kills and 12 digs, respectively.
The victory gives the second-place Rams 14 points, the same number as the OUA East-leading University of Toronto, which has a game in hand and gave Ryerson its only loss of the season so far. With the loss, the Marauders (5-2) had a three-game winning streak of their own snapped and failed to overtake Guelph for first in the OUA West.
The Rams used strong defense to propel themselves to an early lead in the first set. Strong blocks and smart setting plays had Ryerson up by as much as seven points, and they clinched the opening set 25-19.
The Marauders rallied in the second set, quickly jumping out to a 6-1 lead. The teams traded lengthy rallies and booming spikes before Livingston delivered a decisive kill and followed a McMaster block with one of her own to give the Rams a 27-25 win and a 2-0 match lead.
Ryerson struggled early again in the third, falling behind 7-0 before finally registering a point. The Rams trailed for most of the set, battling fiercely to draw even at 21-21. After a pair of Ryerson plays went out of bounds to put them back 23-21, rookie middle hitter Theanna Vernon combined with outside hitters Alex Whyte and Emily Nicholishen on a series of key blocks to edge McMaster 25-23 and give Ryerson the straight-sets win.
“Sometimes when you finish off a set, especially if you win the set, you can have a little lull there at the start of the next one,” said Reid. “We definitely had a couple of those, and that’s definitely something we’ll be looking to improve on.”
The Rams next face the Waterloo Warriors on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. at the MAC in their last home game of 2014.