By Nashra Syed
The Rams men’s volleyball team beat the York University Lions in a clean three sets during their home opener at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) on Saturday, Nov. 13.
They showcased their consistent strength and teamwork throughout the match. Star players for today’s game included first-year outside hitter Jacob Walker and third-year setter Saad Shaikh.
“Other teams are always going to fight back, there are a lot of games to win and to dominate that way from pretty much start to finish,” said Rams assistant coach Niko Rukavina.
The Rams started off strong, winning the first point of the set with a service error from the Lions. Shaikh was the first to serve for the Rams, winning an additional point.
Mistakes from the Lions and power plays made by the Rams won them back-to-back points, earning them a 16-10 lead by the first timeout. Outside hitter Lucas Yang earned the team a kill, followed by a ball-handling error by York. The Rams held their ground, making some key plays which won them the first set with a score of 25-15.
Shaikh started the second set off with a serve which resulted in an attack error by Walker. But the Rams quickly made a comeback with a kill by Yang, giving them a narrow 6-5 lead.
An off court save by the Rams and a few ball handling errors by the Lions saw the Rams maintain a 12-10 lead. A serve by Rams outside hitter Derek Webster led to an attack error by the Lions. The Rams led the set 16-12 before the second timeout. There were powerful plays made by Walker and a particularly effective block by middle Alex Lengweiler during the set.
The Rams successfully won the second set 25-19.
The third set started off with a kill from Walker but it quickly turned into a 4-4 game with a kill from the Lions.
“They kind of pushed back a little bit and I think we handled ourselves pretty well and we’ve just got to get used to that because other teams are going to push back a little bit harder,” said Rukavina.
The Rams led the set 8-4 before a timeout was taken by the Lions. With the Rams leading 13-6, York took its fourth timeout of the game.
Walker’s serve caused disorganized the Lions and they made a ball handling error, giving the home side an 18-9 lead. A kill by middle Alex King won the Rams their first game of the season, with a final score of 25-14.
An off court save by the Rams and a few ball handling errors by the Lions saw the Rams maintain a 12-10 lead. A serve by Webster led to an attack error by the Lions. The Rams led the set 16-12 before the second timeout.
After the game Lengweiler said the Rams need to keep their energy up next week.
“We’re going into [University of Toronto] next week, so they’re going to have a rowdy crowd, we’re not going to have a crowd behind us,” he said.
UP NEXT: The Rams will play the University of Toronto Varsity Blues next on Nov. 20. First serve is set for 5 p.m.