By Gracie Brision
The Ryerson Men’s volleyball team won its home opener on Saturday night defeating the Guelph Gryphons 3-1 (25-21, 26-24, 22-25, 25-16) at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
The Rams came out of the gate strong with Robert Wojcik hitting a right side kill down the line to kick off the game. The Rams played tough defense blocking three middle hits in a row with Uchenna Ofoha stopping Guelph’s tipping strategy as well. Wojcik then served his famous jump topspin for the first ace of the game.
Frustrated, Guelph turned the game around by hitting a smash that was arguably the biggest kill of the set. As Ofoha rotated into the back row and his block was no longer a threat, the Gryphons started executing on their tipping tactics scoring two points using the same play. When the Rams began letting go of the lead with some weaker defensive play along with serving and hitting errors, interim head coach Dustin Reid called the first time out. Outside hitter Lucas Coleman put the Rams back in the game hitting a ball down the line, followed by a sharp cross, ending with a tip right over the blockers to tie the game. The Rams took the first set 25-21.
Ryerson started slow in the second set, making unforced errors for the first six points of the game. The Rams played catch up with the Gryphons, eventually tying up the game and winning it 25-22. But the referees called an “illegal substitution” taking the win from the Rams and the score returning to 23-22 for the Gryphons.
“The number for one player on the score sheet was different than the jersey he was wearing. I signed the score sheet, I checked the score sheet, and I overlooked the fact that the number was different,” Reid said.
But the Rams rose above the situation and Coleman served an ace to tie the game. The Rams took the set to 26-24. After this somewhat complicated win, the two teams went neck and neck for the majority of the third set, until the Rams let up. As the Gryphons were up by one at 14-13, Ofoha was called on reaching over, followed by a lift called on libero, Will Otten, which turned the game around and stopped the Rams from winning their home opener in three straight sets losing 22 – 25.
After having their undefeated home opener title taken from them, Ryerson truly dominated in the fourth set.
“We didn’t play our best in the first two sets and we put ourselves in a position where we were in danger of losing those two. But we played really calmly and as a team in the important moments,” Reid said.
Wojcik showed off his strong right side swing and dominant jump serve scoring an ace and three points off of shanks into the bleachers. The Rams played tougher defense this set with Otten not letting the Gryphons score on a spike without a fight. Alex Dawson won the final point for the Rams with a kill leaving Ryerson with a victory of 25-16.
The Rams will play their next game on Oct. 30th against Queen’s in Kingston starting at 8:00 p.m.