Looking forward: Women’s volleyball hopes to remain a national powerhouse

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By Joseph Casciaro

The Ryerson Rams women’s volleyball team was coming off a season that saw them win the 2018 national championship, and they came so close to grabbing another one in 2019.

They once again made it all the way to the U SPORTS national championship game, but this time, they’d end up losing 3-2 to the UBC Thunderbirds on March 17.

Even though it wasn’t the result they wanted, they still earned a silver medal while establishing themselves as one of the major powerhouse teams in the nation.

Led by head coach Dustin Reid, they’ve come off as a strong team with amazing players, who look to make history every time they step on the court.

Coming into the new season, they will be suffering quite the blow, as team captain and super star middle blocker, Theanna Vernon, is graduating.

“She’s a winner and she wants to have success and when she competes,” Reid said. “You know, she doesn’t say a lot but you can see that and you know, people can feel what she’s capable of and what she wants to do.”

Losing possibly the greatest women’s volleyball player in Ryerson history will cause the need for some younger players to step up.

Their rookies from last year in Teodora Vukovic, Samantha Cyrille, Katelyn Grasman, Adrianna Chiofalo and Lauren Wong be relied upon to produce at a higher level.

“Some of them were directing two roles and opportunities that were extremely large,” Reid told The Eye. “And you know, the way that they handled themselves and improved through the year…makes us very excited about their potential going forward.”

Two young players who have already left quite the mark are Lauren Wong and Lindsay Kleuskens.

Coming off a season in which she was named an OUA All-Rookie selection, Kleuskens continued to play well, increasing her total attacking percentage from 7.1 to 21.4.

With the exit of fifth-year setter Julie Longman, Wong stepped up as the defensive engine for the Rams, racking up a team-leading 152 digs in 70 games played.

It looks like both players are ready for the big time and we can only imagine what these players will bring to the table next season.

With the season coming to an end and a new season a few months away, Reid says that he’s already ready to get back to work.

“I’m also excited about the opportunity to go back to the drawing board and try to improve and we’ll see what volleyball is like, you know, post Theanna Vernon, and if it’ll ever be the same as it was with Theanna Vernon again.”

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