Ryerson Rams team-by-team 2014-15 first semester recap

Ryerson Rams' Chloe Mago dribbles around a Western defender Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. (Alexis Allison / Ryersonian Staff)

Ryerson Rams’ Chloe Mago dribbles around a Western defender Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. (Alexis Allison / Ryersonian Staff)

Ryerson athletics has made tremendous strides the past few years, and that has only been highlighted by stong performances this year. Here’s a look at each team’s first semester heading into the holiday break.

Men’s Soccer

The Ryerson Rams men’s soccer team did not end its season like they would have hoped. However, the men did make some noise in 2014 and proved they belong in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport top 10 rankings.

Led by fifth-year veteran and leading goal scorer Viktor Anastasov, along with a strong defensive core and reliable goalkeeper Christian Maraldo, the Rams went undefeated through their first eight games. With such a strong start to the regular season, expectations were high as Ryerson looked poised to contend for the Ontario University Athletics championship. But an up-and-down finish to the regular season left the team with many question marks heading into the playoffs. Ryerson still managed to finish first in the OUA East division.

In the quarter-finals, the Rams put together a stingy defensive effort, shutting out the UOIT Ridgebacks 2-0. It was a convincing victory, as the men went into the OUA semi-finals bursting with confidence. But they weren’t so lucky against the

Ryerson Rams

Ryerson’s Misel Klisara kicks the ball in a quarter-finals match against UOIT. (Lindsay Fitzgerald / Ryersonian Staff)

Marauders in front of a hostile McMaster crowd. After the Rams and Marauders played to a 0-0 draw through overtime, the game went to penalty kicks. Ryerson would go on to lose in a heartbreaker, and suffer the same fate (penalty-kick loss) in the bronze-medal game the following day against the Toronto Varsity Blues. The Rams ended the year tied for eighth in the CIS rankings.

Despite the disappointing fourth-place finish in the OUA Final Four, Ryerson soccer has a lot to look forward to with the men’s team. Veterans Luke Jan, Christian Maraldo, Joshua Kohn and Viktor Anastasov may be moving on next season, but with a solid young group, highlighted by the speedy Raheem Rose, the Rams’ future looks bright.

Women’s Soccer

The women’s soccer team did not fare as well. Contrary to the men’s side, the women played themselves out of a playoff spot right from the get-go. Winless in their first five games, and outscored by a combined 20-4 score, the Rams looked like they may lay claim to the worst record in the OUA. But a game against Queen’s turned their season around.

With the score tied 2-2 and time winding down, rookie Alex Rodkin — who ended up leading the team with seven regular-season goals — scored in extra-time to give Ryerson its first victory of the season. The late heroics seemed to turn the season around as the team finished out the year with a 6-4-1 record (6-9-1 overall).

Although the Rams may have missed the playoffs, head coach Kevin Souter said the girls have a lot to be proud of.

“Missing playoffs by one point has us all contemplating what could have been. Certainly, on a positive note, we can celebrate in our first-ever win against Queen’s, a win against fourth-ranked UOIT, our first OUA and CIS Female Athlete of the Week and equaling the record for most wins in a Ryerson women’s soccer season,” said Souter in an interview with The Ryersonian last month.

Men’s Hockey

It was a Jekyll and Hyde beginning to the season for the Ryerson Rams men’s hockey team. After a convincing 4-1 road victory against York, and an impressive 10-3 blowout win in the home-opener against Laurentian, Ryerson lost three straight one-goal games to start the year 2-3.

After the first five games, it was hard to know what to make of the men’s team. But, since the rollercoaster start, the Rams have settled in, going 6-1-1 in their last eight games, including a closely-contested OT loss against the No. 5 ranked team in the nation, the Windsor Lancers. The boys now find themselves in a comfortable spot in the standings with an 8-4-1 record heading into the holiday break.

Senior forward Mitch Gallant leads the team with nine goals and 18 points in 13 games. Captain Michael Fine has 13 points in just eight games played. Goaltender Troy Passingham is fifth in the OUA with a .930 save percentage.

The Rams play their final two games before the break on Nov. 27 and Nov. 29 against Guelph and Brock, respectively.

Women’s Hockey

After a rocky 1-4-0 start to the regular season, the women’s hockey team has rebounded in a big way. Between Oct. 31 and Nov. 15, Ryerson went on a four-game winning streak, including two wins against CIS top-10 ranked Toronto Varsity

Ryerson Rams

Emma Rutherford skates down the ice in a game against the Toronto Varsity Blues Oct. 31, 2014. (Courtesy Emma Ewing-Nagy)

Blues and Laurier Golden Hawks. The Rams now find themselves back in the thick of things heading into the month-long break.

Melissa Wronzberg leads the team with 11 points, while Emma Rutherford has a team-high seven goals in 12 games. Rams goaltender Alex Armstrong is 12th in the OUA with a .908 save percentage, while backup netminder Ally Sarna is 17th with an .893 save percentage.

Ryerson plays at York for their final game before the break on Nov. 30. The team will also host a special game against Team China at the Mattamy Athletic Centre Dec. 5.

Men’s Volleyball

The men’s volleyball team is off to a good start in the 2014-15 season. It’s in third place in the OUA standings with a 6-3 record.

However, the first-place McMaster Marauders have proven to be head and shoulders above the rest of the league. The 8-1 Marauders (ranked No. 2 in the CIS) have lost just four sets out of the 30 they’ve played. Ryerson has played McMaster twice so far this season and lost both in straight sets.

The Rams’ third loss came against the second-place Guelph Gryphons (ranked No. 8 in the CIS), a game they also lost 3-0. If the men are to compete for an OUA championship, they’re going to have to find a way to beat these top-tier teams.

Luckily for Ryerson, it will only have to do so in the playoffs. All of the team’s remaining games are against schools lower in the standings.

The Rams’ Lucas Coleman is ranked fifth in the OUA with 105 kills, while Robert Wojcik leads the team with a 0.48 service-aces-per-set average.

Ryerson plays its final two games at home against Western and Windsor this weekend.

Women’s Volleyball

For the first time in school history, the Ryerson Rams women’s volleyball team moved into the top 10 CIS rankings last week. The girls currently sit second in the OUA East division standings with an 8-1 record.

Led by Veronica Livingston, who leads the OUA in kills per set with 3.94, and Theanna Vernon, who also leads the OUA with a .450 hit percentage, Ryerson has dropped just seven sets out of the 31 they’ve played.

Ryerson Rams

Anthony Cicchi attempts to save the ball for Ryerson in a match against the McMaster Marauders Nov. 19, 2014. (Rebecka Calderwood / Ryersonian Staff)

Similar to the men’s side, the women’s only loss has come against the top-ranked Toronto Varsity Blues in straight sets. Toronto ranks fourth in the country and leads the East with an undefeated 8-0 record.

Rams athletics has made tremendous strides so far this year, and the women’s volleyball team is just another example of the school’s progress.

Like the men, the women play their final two games at the MAC against Western and Windsor.

Men’s Basketball

The men’s basketball team could not have scripted a better beginning to the 2014-15 season.

The Rams are off to a 6-0 start, with all their victories coming by at least a 19-point margin.

Ryerson is hosting the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship in March. It’s the first time a Toronto-based school is hosting the event.

The Rams (ranked No. 3 in the CIS) are guaranteed a spot in the tournament and are proving this year they will be a team to be reckoned with come March.

With players like Jahmal Jones and Bjorn Michaelsen in their final year of eligibility, winning the championship in front of the home crowd would put a stamp on successful careers.

“We’re really lucky to host nationals in our senior year. Not many people get to do that and it would be amazing to win it,” said Michaelsen.

Jones leads the team with 18 points per game and a five assist-per-game average. Kadeem Green tops the Rams with 7.8 rebounds per game.

Ryerson will face its first real challenges of the season when it takes on the top two teams in the country. The Rams will travel to the nation’s capital to take on Ottawa (ranked No. 2 in the CIS) Nov. 28 and Carleton (ranked No. 1 in the CIS) Nov. 29. Both teams are 6-0 on the season. The Rams currently sit atop the OUA East division.

Women’s Basketball

Much like the women’s volleyball team, the women’s basketball team is demonstrating how far Ryerson athletics has come.

The Rams are sitting pretty with a 5-1 record and lead the OUA East division. But that’s not all – the women are now in the top 10 CIS rankings (ranked No. 8 in the country) and could find themselves competing in the CIS Final 8 tournament in March.

With a handful of new recruits and solid veterans, Ryerson has imposed its will on opponents, ranking third in the OUA with a 74.7 points-per-game average.

The Rams’ only loss came against the No. 1 ranked school in the nation, the Windsor Lancers.

However, there was a lot to be proud of despite the defeat. After trailing 17-3 in the first quarter, the women mounted a comeback and actually led by nine points late in the second half before Windsor put the game away in the fourth quarter.

Bringing the top team in the nation to the brink of defeat is impressive, and further shows Ryerson is a sports school.

Through six games, Keneca Pingue-Giles leads the Rams with 15.2 points per game. Sofia Paska tops the team with 6.2 rebounds per game.

Ryerson will travel to the nation’s capital with the men to take on Ottawa and Carleton on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, respectively.

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