By Gary-Joseph Panganiban
The Ryerson Rams women’s volleyball team bounced back on Jan. 11 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre against the Windsor Lancers in four sets—20-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-18—in great part due to the team’s stellar defence.
Coming off a disappointing five-set loss the night prior against No. 9 ranked Western Mustangs, Rams head coach Dustin Reid was hoping to see more out of his team.
“[I was expecting to see] energy, aggressiveness and belief that we can do what we need to do to win rallies,” said Reid.
In the first set, the Rams appeared a bit sluggish as they were unable to fend off the Lancers’ aggression out of the gate. Windsor’s offence, aided by a couple of Ryerson errors, allowed the opposing team to build a 16-12 lead heading into the first technical timeout.
Although a comeback was attempted, the Lancers surprisingly steamrolled the Rams to cap the set 25-20.
Entering tonight’s game, the Lancers had only accumulated 10 points through their first eight games.
Though Windsor emulated some of their early aggression in the second set, Ryerson responded with impassioned defence.
The Rams accumulated a total of four blocks in the set—an amount that equalled last night’s total—on their way to a 25-18 set win.
Middle blocker Katelyn Grasman was an instrumental part of the Rams’ counter-attack with her team-high eight blocks.
“The momentum shifted a lot when we were getting those blocks,” said Grasman.
The third set was a true joust between Windor’s powerful offence and Ryerson’s firm defence. The Rams pulled ahead late to take the set 25-21, though both teams were deadlocked late in the set at 18-18.
That was before outside hitter Lauren Veltman began ripping Windsor apart.
First, it was with a blistering kill, then a strong block. As opposing fans began chanting “Where’s Kelsey Veltman?”—a former OUA all-star and Lauren’s sister—she answered the hecklers with a crucial ace that silenced them.
“I always get things called out to me, especially about my older sister,” said Veltman. “So when he said it, and I got an ace, I was just like, she’s not here buddy.”
Veltman carried her dominant play into the final stretch of the game as she obliterated ball after ball. Seven of her game-high 15 kills came in the decisive 25-18 set.
With the win, Ryerson improves to 9-2 on the season and currently sits atop the Ontario University Athletics East Division standings.
Rams captain Cailin Wark, who leads the team in kills with a whopping 132 on the season, sat out this evening’s game to rest. Wark also ranks third in the OUA in kills per set with 3.38 per game.
Ryerson will begin a four-game road trip starting next week, with matchups with McMaster, Brock, Queen’s and Royal Military College.
UP NEXT: Ryerson will travel to Hamilton on Jan. 17 to take on the McMaster Marauders at the Burridge Gymnasium.