By Matt Vocino
On Sunday afternoon, the Ryerson Rams women’s volleyball team returned to action at the Mattamy Athletic Centre defeating the Nipissing Lakers in four sets (25-16, 20-25, 25-15, 25-15) to keep their perfect season in tact.
The Rams were led by Janelle Albert and Lauren Veltman, who each contributed a team-high of 12 kills. Fourth-year middle blocker Theanna Vernon was also a huge contributor in the contest, registering seven kills of her own and an impressive .500 attacking percentage.
Although the Rams clearly looked like the better team in the final two sets, that wasn’t the case throughout the entire match.
After taking the first set 26-16, the Rams fell victim to some sloppy play in the second set.
The Rams’ lack of communication was very apparent during long rallies, as the Rams were often out of position, allowing Nipissing to rack up easy points en route to their second set victory
“There was just a lot unfocussedness at the beginning,” said Veltman. “Everyone was off their game a little bit and it definitely took us a little bit of time to collect ourselves, get calm and then do what we do.”
Once the Rams were able to refocus between the second and third sets, the team regained its dominant form and began to take control midway through the third set.
It was at this point that Albert, Vernon and Veltman began a relentless attack on the Lakers, recording a couple of massive cross-court kills to give their team a much-needed boost.
From here, the Rams closed out the third set 25-20, and continued their strong offensive and defensive play. The Rams then took the fourth set 25-15.
After the match, Rams head coach Dustin Reid credited his team’s surge in the final two sets due to their ability to limit errors.
“[In the third and fourth set] we didn’t make very many mistakes,” Reid said. “On our serving and attacking game, we probably made 50 per cent less mistakes in those two sets, and when we do that, our quality will shine through a little bit more, and we’re able to get more distance between our opponent.”
With their victory over the Lakers, the Rams remain as the OUA’s top team with an undefeated record, having won all 12 of their matches so far this season. The win also gives them a four-point edge over the second place McMaster Marauders, whose record currently stands at 10-1.
The Rams will return to the court Friday against Brock in St. Catharines, Ont. Although the Badgers only have three wins in 10 matches this season, Reid is not taking Brock lightly. He knows that if his team continues to make mistakes, it will be a tough match.
When asked about where the Rams need to improve before playing Brock, Veltman stressed the need for more communication.
“There are times when we don’t talk on the court and so it just creates confusion for the defence and blocking,” Veltman said.“We just have to talk before every whistle and every serve.”
UP NEXT: The Rams will take on the Brock Badgers on Jan. 26. Game-time is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.