The Ryerson men’s volleyball team lost its opening game against Trinity Western Friday at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) National Championship in four sets.
It was the team’s first appearance in school history.
The loss comes just a few days after the team won the silver medal in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) playoffs. Eleven teams competed in the tournament.
Ryerson dropped their (its – agrees with singular university) quarter-final game in the tournament to Trinity Western by a score of 3-1. The Rams entered the tournament as the number seven seed, with Trinity Western being seeded second.
Trinity Western, a school located in Langley, B.C., lost in the CIS finals last year to the University of Alberta.
Ryerson opened the first set with a 10-9 lead, but the Rams’ momentum stopped there as scoreboard malfunction forced a ten-minute long delay in the game.
The Rams quickly lost their lead. With Trinity Western winning 16-12, the Rams could not quite make a comeback. Ryerson lost the set 25-19.
Robert Wojcik and Marc Reardon led the way for the Rams in the first set with four kills each.
“We got stuck in one rotation where they scored five points in a row, and that was the difference,” said Dustin Reid, Rams’ head coach. “Everything was pretty much point-for-point other than that.”
The second set began with the Rams battling Trinity Western serve for serve. The score was tied at 11-11 halfway through the set.
After a few good rallies in the second half of the set, Trinity Western took a 17-14 lead. However, the Rams were able to tie the set up at 18-18. This forced Trinity Western to call a timeout.
With the score sitting at 22-21 for Trinity Western, the Rams hit the ball one too many times before sending it over the net, leading to a point for Trinity Western.
The Rams were able to score one more point, but ultimately lost 25-22. Reardon and Lucas Coleman led the way for the Rams with three kills each in the second set.
“We made a few errors towards the end of the set,” Reid said. “It was a bit disappointing to not get that one.”
The third set started well for the Rams, as they jumped out to a 4-2 lead. Coleman, who was named an OUA second team all star, started the set off with a quick two kills.
But, Trinity Western began to storm their way back into the game. At the halfway point, the game was tied 11-11.
There were countless lead changes throughout the second set. At the technical timeout, the Rams led the set 16-14.
The timeout did not slow the Rams, as they got two quick points after the break to take an 18-14 lead.
The Rams were able to hold off Trinity Western and win the set 25-23 to force a fourth set.
Coleman increased his total kills for the match to 12. Uchenna Ofoha also stepped up for the Rams, bringing the team three kills of his own in the third set.
“We did a good job focusing on just winning one set,” Reid said. “We played as well as we have all season in the third set, and it was nice to see the players rewarded.”
The fourth set started with Trinity Western and Ryerson trading points, and the score sat at 6-6 early.
Ofoha was playing with an incredible amount of emotion. Along with a service ace, Ofoha seemed to pump up his teammates. Trinity Western started to scramble, forcing the team to call a timeout.
With a 15-11 Ryerson lead, Trinity Western began to claw their way back.
They were able to make it a one-point game, with Ryerson leading 18-17.
After a Ryerson timeout, the score was tied 24-24.
The Trinity Western squad ended up being just too much for the Rams to handle, as they lost the fourth and final set 26-24.
“We established a four point lead in the middle of the set,” Reid said. “Quite frankly, I think we got a little too excited. Trinity put the pressure on and we let them back into the set.”
Reardon won player of the game for the Rams, finishing the game with 11 kills and two blocks.
The tournament, which is being hosted by McMaster University, runs from March 10-12.
Ryerson will play its second game of the tournament on Friday. Their matchup has not yet been announced.