By Kintaro Skinner
In climactic fashion, the No. 9 ranked Western Mustangs defeated the No. 2 Ryerson Rams women’s volleyball team in five sets—25-21, 16-25, 16-25, 25-22, 18-16—at the Mattamy Athletic Centre tonight.
Western survived the tightly-contested matchup despite the Rams staving off match point three straight times.
The Mustangs exposed Ryerson’s inability to close in the final moments of the match, cementing the victory with three straight points to take the fifth set.
“The few sets we won weren’t tight and the three we lost were tight,” said Rams head coach Dustin Reid. “I don’t think anyone on our team will be satisfied with the way we composed ourselves through those moments [tonight].”
Western improved to 8-3 with the win while Ryerson dropped to 8-2 on the season.
Every set contained multiple rallies with diving digs and powerful kills, but unforced errors spoiled Ryerson’s chances of coming away victorious.
The Rams had 28 attacking errors tonight. It the first time they’ve committed over 20 since Nov. 8, with 27 against Guelph.
“Our coach was just telling us that almost 50 per cent of their points were because of us,” said outside hitter Lauren Veltman. “We were just hoping for big kills and a lot of times that is not always the best option.”
It included eight errors from Veltman who had committed 11 total in her previous three matches.
“A lot of times we didn’t bury the ball, we were hitting it out and making silly moves,” added Veltman.
Western took advantage of Ryerson’s mishaps as they capitalized with kills, especially in the fifth set.
“We allowed them to pass an easy ball when we were tentative, which allowed them to hit that seam,” said setter Lauren Wong.
Western’s middle blocker Kristina Curcin had a game-high 16 kills.
Competitive matches between the Rams and Mustangs have become second nature. The two teams have split their last six matches.
“It’s a great program, first of all, and they attract a lot of talented athletes, and they play a really fun and open style that’s offensive and aggressive,” said Reid. “We’ve had a lot of great games against them, both regular season and playoffs.”
Despite the loss, a silver lining for Ryerson was Wong’s performance, as she had her fourth game of the season with at least 40 assists. Wong is up to 978 career assists which already places her third on the Rams all-time list.
“It definitely means a lot to me but the girls do a really good job of supporting me in practice a lot so that makes me a little more comfortable,” said Wong. “We all have each other’s back.”
UP NEXT: The Rams will welcome the Windsor Lancers to their home court on Jan. 11. First serve is set for 6:00 p.m.