By Daniel Michael Centeno
The Ryerson Rams women’s volleyball team end their season in the Ontario University Association (OUA) quarter-finals after being eliminated by the Guelph Gryphons in five sets—25-22, 22-25, 21-25, 11-15—on Feb. 29 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Throughout the match, the Rams found themselves trailing after Guelph mounted consecutive scoring runs to erase Ryerson’s early leads in sets.
This included a 9-1 scoring run in the third set and a 13-7 run to end the fifth.
“They’re a team that doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. They put a lot of pressure on you to execute. In the fourth set, we had four or five kills on 25 attempts. We’re not going to win games like that,” said Rams head coach Dustin Reid.
Guelph was led by setter Alex Curran’s 50 assists and left side Ally Proulx’s 19 kills. In their previous meeting, the Rams defeated the Gryphons in five sets.
The loss comes as a shock as Ryerson entered the playoffs as the second-ranked team in the country with a 16-3 record to close the regular season.
“Ultimately, Guelph did a better job of handling the ball on their side of the net,” said Reid. “We struggled in that area, particularly in the sets we lost. If we want to be playing at the level it takes to win, we have to take control of the ball a lot better than we did.”
Rams right side Cailin Wark led the team on offence with a career-high 20 kills.
‘’We played with a lot of heart, and in tough moments we really came back and fought really hard,” said Wark. “Guelph played a really great game and in the end, they came out a lot better than us in the fifth, but I’m really proud [of] how we came together.”
In the third set with the score 15-21, Rams outside hitter Lauren Veltman collided with teammate Jasmine Rivest near the net.
Veltman fell awkwardly and was grasping her left leg for several minutes. She was assessed by team medical staff and helped to the locker room by teammates. Veltman recorded eight kills and nine digs before exiting the match.
The Rams led 4-2 early in the fifth set before the Gryphons’ 13-7 scoring run secured the victory.
Outside blocker Brett Hagarty was the Rams’ defensive anchor with 28 digs. Offensively, she scored 12 kills during crucial stretches of the match, which included a dominant fourth set to force the fifth.
In her final game as a Ram, Hagarty said the team went out on the court and put everything on the line for this match.
“The way we went out, we went out with a hard hit. We went out swinging, we went out as a team and we played together the whole time,” said Hagarty. “I just feel so lucky to have been a part of this program and know these women.”
Commenting on Hagarty’s impact during her two years at Ryerson, Reid said the graduating outside hitter is a “tremendous leader and competitor.”