Rams squeeze by Varsity Blues in battle of titans

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By Kintaro Skinner

In a rematch of last year’s Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship game, the Ryerson Rams women’s volleyball team got their revenge against the Toronto Varsity Blues in five sets (25-21, 16-25, 27-25, 19-25, 15-13) on Oct. 26 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

It looked out of reach for the Rams in the fifth and final set when the Blues took a 9-6 lead. But Ryerson remained poised and came back with four consecutive points to stay in it.

A massive rally with court-streaking dives for balls was highlighted by a kill from rookie outside hitter Jasmine Rivest, which put the Rams up 14-12, a point away from a victory.

“Whenever we have long rallies the first thing we try to do is finish it,” said Rivest. “All I was thinking about was finishing it so that we could get the rally over with right away.”

Rivest was playing in her first OUA game and came through for the Rams in a big way. She produced all four of her kills in the deciding fifth set.

Setter Lauren Wong also surpassed her career-high in assists with 50 on the night. Her previous best was 48 last season against York.

Cailin Wark led the team with 18.5 points while defensively, Brett Hagarty led the way with 28 digs.

In their first matchup of the year—since the two teams faced off in last year’s OUA title game where Toronto won in straight sets—the Rams ranked second in the country heading into the season while the Varsity Blues ranked fourth.

“We love playing Toronto, they’re the gold standard in our conference but you have to be careful,” said head coach Dustin Reid. “I think when you find a way to win a game like today there’s so many positives but if we would’ve lost in the fifth [set] there would be a lot of things we could focus on and be motivated to improve [on].”

The Varsity Blues were led by right-side hitter Alina Dormann who produced 22 kills on the match, one shy from her 2018-19 season-high of 23 that she also set against Ryerson.

“They’re a great team, they’ve got [Dormann], the best player in the province if not the country,” said Reid. “I expect them to revisit their performance and be a better team.”

As a unit, the Varsity Blues ended the game with 60 kills and a 24.6 percent hitting percentage, five percentage points better than the Rams.

Despite the lower hitting percentage, the Rams were able to pick up the pieces and stay together, improving to 2-0 on the season.

UP NEXT: Ryerson will travel to the Tait Mckenzie Centre to take on the York Lions, a team they haven’t lost to since 2014. First serve is set for 8:00 p.m.

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