By Sami Chazonoff
Ryerson’s women’s volleyball team went undefeated last season and brought home the 2018 championship, becoming the first ever Ryerson Rams team to win a national title.
That means there are some big shoes to fill for the 2019 team as it prepares for this weekend’s U SPORTS national finals, taking place in Edmonton.
With so many rookies on the squad, are the Rams up to the task?
Lauren Wong, a first-year nutrition and food student and a setter on the team, said she isn’t too worried about filling those shoes.
“Coming in, I was super nervous but all the girls made it so much better by making me feel comfortable,” she said. “The coaching staff have been on me too – but in the nicest way possible.”
The coaches are making sure to train this year’s roster as hard as last year and think they can pull off another epic season.
Manager and head coach Dustin Reid said that’s why they’re here.
“We can absolutely win another championship this year,” Reid said.
He says he recognizes he’s working with a whole new team, which has five rookies, but says he’s confident in them.
“There are a number of changes in our roster and we’re trying to put our best foot forward and be this year’s team – and the best version of that.”
The Rams go into the national championship after a 17-2 regular season record that was tops in the OUA East. They won the silver medal in the OUA playoffs, with a record of 2-1. They are the sixth seed in the national finals.
MVP of last year’s U Sports championship game and middle blocker, Theanna Vernon, said she believes the 2019 team can have the same success as last year’s squad.
Although winning the championship is a great memory for her, she said she knows it couldn’t have been achieved without the hard work she and her teammates put into every game and practice.
“We really counted on each other to bring it every single game and to every single training session we had,” she said.
Wong said she knows the team she is on now was undefeated last year, but she has a very hopeful and relaxed attitude about living up to expectations.
“We’re just going to keep working hard and going with the flow,” she said. “At the end of the day we’ll still be super happy with where we are.”
The Rams play their first game Friday against the University of Calgary.