Photo courtesy of Ryerson Rams

The Rams women’s volleyball team defeated the Alberta Pandas 3-1 to earn Ryerson’s first-ever gold medal at the national championships in Quebec City on Sunday night.

The national title comes after a record-breaking season for the women’s team, coached by Dustin Reid. The team has gone undefeated in all 25 of its regular season and playoff games. Reid was named National Coach of the Year by USports earlier this week.

It was an impressive final matchup between the fourth-seeded Rams and seventh-seeded Pandas. Ryerson quickly won the first set 25-22. The team took an early lead in set number two, but fought through a tough point-for-point battle, eventually falling to the Pandas, 31-29.

The Rams went on to win the third set, 25-19. The Pandas fell apart in the fourth and final set, where second-year Cailin Wark’s supreme serving led the Rams’ five-point streak. Lauren Veltman, also in her second year, went on to earn the match point for the Rams by slamming the ball across the court.

“Great Wall of Ryerson” Theanna Vernon shone bright as the Rams’ superstar blocker, despite going down for a short time in the game’s fourth set. The fourth-year social work student banked more than 13 blocks throughout the game and was named a USports Academic All-Canadian, which recognizes exceptional student-athletes.

Ryerson held a viewing party for the game at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Sunday night. All students were welcome to join and watch the USports live stream, which began at 5 p.m in the Rams Cafe.

Rams fans were also going wild in the stands during the game. Some travelled nine hours on the Ryerson fan bus to watch the women bring home gold. Also in the arena were the players’ family members and friends, some of whom showed up with enlarged face cut-outs of team members.

The win marks Ryerson’s first-ever national title in any sport.

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