By Josh Beneteau
The Ryerson women’s volleyball team (8-1) were given a challenge by the Waterloo Warriors (1-8) Sunday, but ultimately came out with a five-set (25-13, 21-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-5) win.
Four Rams finished the game with more than 10 kills, but the 10th ranked team in the country was at times chasing Waterloo, who are last place in the Ontario University West division.
Ryerson started the game strong, opening with a 5-2 lead and never looking back in the first set, winning by 12 points. Rookie Simran Gill started in her first game of the season and picked up three kills and a service ace in the opening set.
“It was a good start,” head coach Dustin Reid said. “Things went so well in the first, we didn’t make any mistakes and we really put pressure on the other team. I think that fooled us a little bit to be honest.”
The second set saw the tables turn as Waterloo kept pace with Ryerson and didn’t let the Rams pull away. The teams traded points until Waterloo went on a five-point run that forced a Ryerson timeout with the score 11-8 for the Warriors.
Ryerson closed the gap to 21-19 with some kills from a balanced attack of Alex Whyte, Veronica Livingston and Theanna Vernon. But the gap had grown too wide and Waterloo ultimately tied the match 1-1.
Ryerson’s balanced attack continued in the third set, led by Vernon, Livingston and Chelsea Briscoe, who had four kills each.
Ryerson at one point led 20-9 before Waterloo slowly crawled back, forcing another Ryerson timeout. Waterloo closed the gap to 22-18 but Ryerson stopped the run and finished the set with a Briscoe kill to win 25-21 and take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set was a mirror of the third except it was Waterloo who ran away with the lead early. Ryerson was able to recover somewhat after going down 19-9, including three straight kills from Gill as part of a five-point run.
But the closest they got was three points down 23-20 and 24-21, before Waterloo forced the fifth set.
“It started with our own mistakes … and that gave them confidence,” Reid said. “Waterloo is a much better team than their record would indicate but I’m not sure if our girls believed it until they got out there.”
But in the fifth set, Ryerson looked like they have all season, pounding the ball again and again back at Waterloo. The team went on two five-point runs to easily win the set 15-5. Livingston sealed the set and match for Ryerson with a powerful kill into the back corner.
“We played our game in the fifth,” Reid said. “I’m proud of the way the girls played in that set because it would have been easy to come out nervous in the fifth but we came out assertive and confident and that’s a positive we can take from today.”
Livingston led the team with 17 kills in the match. Vernon had 12, Briscoe 11 and in her first start, Gill had 10. Gill also had eight digs and two service aces.
Fourth-year outside hitter Emily Nicholishen said Gill’s play in her first full game shows the depth the team has.
“[Gill] managed well when they were serving her and was passing well,” Nicholishen said. “The rookies work hard in practice and they push us to be better.”
The women’s volleyball team closes the 2014 half of their season on the road next weekend against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.