By Luke Bellus
Ryerson’s women’s volleyball team has come a long way.
In the early days of the team’s existence, things weren’t going so well. From 1979 to 2001, the team registered a combined win/loss record of 37-229, meaning they won an average of 1.61 games per season.
For perspective, from 1989-1997, the team won a grand total of one game, giving them a combined record of 1-81. In that time span, with three different coaches at the helm, the program had a total of seven seasons without a win.
Thankfully, those days are over.
“All of the hardship I’ve gone through over these past five years is all worth it”
On Sunday, March 18, the team won its first-ever national championship in a four-set clash against the Alberta Pandas.
Considering their past, the recent success is warranted. The team went through difficult times until Dustin Reid took over in the 2008-09 season. In 2012-13, Reid led the team to a 14-4 record and an OUA bronze medal.
Ten years after Reid joined, the Rams now find themselves national champions and the owners of a 25-0 record.
“I hate using clichés,” Reid said. “But we were a special group and we made special things happen throughout the year.”
They truly were a special team, with the squad boasting seven players who nabbed OUA awards, including two first team and one second team all-stars.
One of Ryerson’s biggest contributors in the season was OUA East Award of Merit winner Julie Longman.
During her five years at Ryerson, Longman collected a number of awards including being named OUA East Libero of the Year and to the OUA All-Rookie Team in 2013-14, and the Award of Merit in 2017-18.
In her first four years at Ryerson, Longman found success individually, but the team struggled to claim any titles of their own during that time.
And then the 2017-18 season came around—a historic year that saw the Rams capture the schools first U Sports championship in recent school history and the volleyball programs first OUA banner.
“All of the hardship I’ve gone through over these past five years is all worth it,” Longman said. “It just makes all the ups and downs much more special.”
“I hate using clichés, but we were a special group and we made special things happen throughout the year”
There is a boatload of talent within this group, with some of the freshmen—such as Janelle Albert and Alicia Lam—having successful rookie campaigns. The crazy part is that it doesn’t even stop there, as the roster holds a lot of players who’ve yet to make their presence felt.
After decades of losing seasons, the Ryerson’s women’s volleyball team is on track to redefine their legacy. With a national championship under their belt and a young core returning for the coming seasons, the sky’s the limit for this program as they look ahead.