Photo by Sports Information

Top Ten Moments of 2018

By Andrea Elliott

TORONTO – What a year 2018 has been for the Ryerson Rams. There is a lot to celebrate from this calendar year and we are excited to bring back the annual Top Ten Moments countdown!

Thanks to all our fans for cheering us on during these top ten moments and so much more in 2018! What will 2019 bring? Follow along as we prepare for another banner season and successful year!

Happy Holidays!

1. Women’s volleyball brings home first U SPORTS national championship for Ryerson

How could our top moment of 2018 be anything other than a celebration of the first U SPORTS national championship won by any team at Ryerson?

The women’s volleyball team made history on March 18th when a Lauren Veltman kill gave the Rams their first national title for any Rams team.

After their perfect regular season, three OUA playoff wins, and their first OUA banner under their belts, the Rams were seeded No. 4 for the national championship. Their 22-game win streak was pushed to its limits in the national quarter-final as Ryerson fell behind UBC Okanagan 2-0. As the Rams adjusted to the pace of play, their game fell into place and after two close 25-23 set wins in the third and fourth, the Rams ran away with the fifth set 15-8 to punch their ticket to the semifinal.

That semifinal berth pitted the Rams against the No. 1 seeded Calgary Dinos. The performance in the semifinal showed the Rams were on a mission for that title banner and no one was going to stop them. Ryerson jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the top seed and after a third set blemish, the Rams responded with authority by taking a 25-14 fourth set to advance to the championship game.

The final saw Ryerson take on Alberta, the team that defeated the Rams in the 2017 national championship quarter-final. This time around it was Ryerson that had the upper hand. A first set 25-22 win got the Rams off to a promising start, but an extended second set (29-31) saw the match tied at one set apiece. As they’d done earlier in the championship, Ryerson responded to that loss the best way they knew how. A 25-19 third set win set up the Rams for success and a 25-21 fourth set victory clinched the national title.

2. men’s basketball repeats as u sports silver medalists

In 2017 the men’s basketball team posted their best ever result on the national stage. That’s a high accomplishment to repeat, but the Rams were able to do just that in 2018.

At the Final 8 championship in Halifax, the Rams entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed - something they likely took exception to. In the opening round, the Rams dominated Alberta to set up a semifinal with top-seeded Carleton.

With a rich history of dramatic clashes in playoff games over the last few years, the national semifinal between the two teams did not disappoint. The Rams and Ravens were tied at halftime before Ryerson pulled away in the second half to dethrone the seven-time defending champions and guarantee themselves a medal.

The next day the Rams were in another battle, this time with Calgary, as both teams looked for their first national championship. Ryerson came oh-so-close but a last second Dinos bucket sealed the Rams’ fate, repeating as silver medalists.

The men’s basketball program has now won medals at the U SPORTS championship in four consecutive years - bronze in 2015 and 2016, and silver in 2017 and 2018.

3. Women’s volleyball wins first OUA title

There’s nothing quite like winning a championship on home court.

March 10th, 2018 will forever be etched in Ryerson’s history as the day the first women’s volleyball OUA championship was won. The team put together a 19-0 regular season record and earned the right to host the Final Four championship on Coca-Cola Court.

In the semifinal, the Rams needed just four sets to get by the Western Mustangs to play for gold. In the championship game, in front of a packed home crowd decked out in blue and gold pride, the Rams took down the McMaster Marauders 3-1 to be crowned champions.

4. Record number of academic All-Canadians and Achievement Award winners

After setting the record for number of All-Canadians for their sport performance, 2018 was also a record for the number of student-athletes recognized for their work in the classroom. A record 77 student-athletes were named U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians or OUA Academic Achievement Award winners in November.

Of those honoured, 54 were U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians and 23 were OUA Academic Achievement Award winners. The 77 recognized student-athletes surpassed the record of 76 set in 2015-16.

5. Record number of Rams honoured with major awards and as All-Canadians

As the 2017-18 seasons wrapped up in February and March, it became obvious that a number of Rams student-athletes were at the top of their game and would be rewarded for their accomplishments. When all was said and done, six Rams won OUA major awards, two won U SPORTS major awards, and eight were named U SPORTS All-Canadians.

The success of our student-athletes on the national stage is a source of pride and helps continue to solidify Ryerson as a place to be to achieve goals and make an impact.

Our OUA major award winners included:
1.    Alex Basso – Hockey – OUA West Player of the Year, Defenceman of the Year
2.    Lucas Coleman – Volleyball – OUA East Player of the Year
3.    Ailish Forfar – Hockey – OUA Marion Hilliard Award
4.    Julie Longman – Volleyball – OUA Award of Merit
5.    Dustin Reid – Volleyball – OUA Coach of the Year
6.    Marin Scotten – Basketball – OUA Rookie of the Year

Of those six standouts, Ailish Forfar and Dustin Reid went on to win their award at the U SPORTS level.

The list of U SPORTS All-Canadians is also impressive with eight student-athletes earning the honour. Ryerson also had the distinct title of being the only institution in the country to have an All-Canadian in all six winter team sports (basketball, volleyball, and hockey, men’s and women’s).

1.    Lucas Coleman – Volleyball – First-Team
2.    Manny Diressa – Basketball – First-Team
3.    Alex Basso – Hockey – Second-Team
4.    Ailish Forfar – Hockey – Second-Team
5.    Matt Mistele – Hockey – Second-Team
6.    Sofia Paska – Basketball – Second-Team
7.    Theanna Vernon – Volleyball – Second-Team
8.    Marin Scotten – Basketball – All-Rookie Team

6. Rams trade in blue and gold for red and white

After our No. 10 moment celebrated the success of our coaches on the national stage, now it’s time to focus on our student-athletes that were selected to represent the Canadian flag in 2018.

Basketball players JV Mukama and now alumnus Manny Diressa were selected in April to represent Canada at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. The roster was made entirely of U SPORTS players but Ryerson was one of only three schools to have multiple players selected. Team Canada finished fourth at the event.

Diressa had a busy year in the red and white as he was also part of the Canadian senior men’s national team, along with Rams teammates and fellow alumni Aaron Best and Adika Peter-McNeilly. The trio all suited up for the national team as part of the FIBA Qualifiers for next year’s FIBA World Cup. Best was on the latest edition of the roster which officially qualified Canada with a win in early December.

Former Rams women’s hockey captain Ailish Forfar was part of the U SPORTS All-Star roster that took part in Hockey Canada’s Summer Showcase.  The all-stars competed against the Canadian national women’s development team in Calgary.

A pair of Ryerson badminton student-athletes, Adwin Lau and Nathan Cheng, were two of the eight athletes who represented Canada at the World University Badminton Championship in Kuala Lumpur in October.

Most recently, Rams leading scorer Matt Mistele was selected to the U SPORTS men’s hockey All-Star roster that played Canada’s national junior team prospects in Victoria, B.C.

7. Women’s hockey sets program record for wins, returns to playoffs

The end of the 2017-18 season was one to remember for the women’s hockey team as they posted a 9-3 record in their 12 games in 2018 to set a new program record for wins in a season. The team’s 10-5-7-2 record gave them a program-best 15 wins and 42 points in the standings to finish fifth overall and qualify them for the playoffs.

The postseason appearance was the second in the program’s seven-year history, and the Rams earned their first ever playoff victory on February 21 when the squad defeated Nipissing 4-2 in game one of their series.

8. Rams Care Kids-to-Camp program success

The debut of the Rams Care Kids-to-Camp program saw enough funds raised to provide 100 community children with the opportunity to attend a Ryerson summer camp program in 2018.

The program is part of Rams Care, the Rams community outreach program which engages Ryerson student-athletes to provide mentorship to youth in the community. The Kids-to-Camp program gives opportunity to learn and grow in an environment they may otherwise not be exposed to.

After sending 100 kids to camp in 2018, the Ryerson Athletics and Recreation department has a lofty goal of sending 500 kids to camp in 2019. So far, the department has raised over $30,000 from participating in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge in October, and is well on its way to giving back to more of its community.

9. Six Rams teams spend time in national rankings

Throughout the 2018 calendar year, six of the Rams varsity teams earned national recognition in the U SPORTS Top Ten rankings. This is only the second time six teams have spent time in the Top Ten, and first since 2014, but this time around the teams are earning higher marks.

The Rams men’s basketball team has spent the whole first half of the 2018-19 season as the No. 2 ranked team in the country, while the women’s basketball team started at No. 2 and currently sits No. 4 heading into the holiday break.

After their success last year, the women’s volleyball team started the 2018-19 season at No. 2 in the country and is currently tied for the No. 4 spot at the midway point of the season.

The men’s hockey team is seeing unprecedented success and has been ranked as high as No. 4 in the country this season. The team currently holds down the No. 5 ranking at the break.

The women’s hockey team broke into the Top Ten for the first time in program history on October 23 when they earned the No. 10 rank. They’ve been in and out of the rankings since then, but enter the holiday break in the No. 8 spot.

Last, but not least, the men’s soccer team spent much of their season ranked between the No. 4 and No. 6 positions.

Collectively, the Rams are one of the highest ranked schools across the country, and we’re looking forward to what those rankings mean for our playoff success.

10. Coaches shine on national scene

Both Ryerson basketball coaches Carly Clarke and Roy Rana are no strangers to the national team programs, but both elevated their positions in 2018 and helped Canada Basketball reach new heights.

Clarke, currently leading the Rams on their journey to the U SPORTS national championship, has also been busy with the Canadian senior women’s national team as an assistant coach. In September, Clarke was in Spain for the FIBA World Cup where the Canadians topped their pool but ultimately finished seventh.

Last July, Rana led the national junior squad to the FIBA U19 World Cup gold medal – the first championship for Canada in an international event. In 2018, Rana was promoted to head coach of the senior men’s national team to lead the Canadians into qualifying for the 2019 World Cup. Mission, accomplished. Earlier this month, Rana and the Canadians defeated Brazil to clinch their qualification berth for next year’s world championship.




On the ice, Rams head coach Lisa Haley and assistant coach Margaret Jennings were both selected to coach a team of U16 Aboriginal girls from across the nation as part of the television show, ‘Hit the Ice’. Haley and Jennings held tryouts, selected their team, had training camp, and then took the players to a showcase tournament in Boston to provide scouting opportunities for them they wouldn’t normally be exposed to. The television series is set to debut in the new year.

Also on the ice, Rams men’s hockey assistant coach Kori Cheverie spent part of her summer in Calgary as an assistant with the U18 women’s national team program.

Finding themselves just outside of the Top Ten, here is a trio of Honourable Mentions

FINAL FOUR STREAKS CONTINUE FOR A PAIR OF TEAMS

To reach the Final Four championship tournament is an accomplishment in and of itself, but to do so multiple years in a row shows the strength of a program’s foundation.

This year the men’s volleyball team qualified for the Final Four tournament for the third straight year and fourth time in five seasons. The Rams posted a 12-6 regular season record to top the OUA East division, then defeated Waterloo in a quarter-final to send the team back to the Final Four.

The men’s soccer team extended their Final Four appearance streak to an impressive sixth time in 2018. The Rams put together a 14-1-1 regular season to finished second in the OUA East. They then defeated Toronto in a quarter-final match to send the Rams to their sixth straight championship tournament.

CLUB TEAMS CONTINUE TO SHINE

As the Rams programming continues to grow, so too does the success of our competitive club teams.

In February of this year the men’s curling team won their first OUA medal when they claimed silver and qualified for the U SPORTS national championship, following in the footsteps of the women’s team which accomplished the same feat in 2017.

September saw the men’s cricket team win the Canadian college national title, defeating the University of Toronto Scarborough in the final.

In mid-October, the Rams fastpitch team scored their best ever result, finishing fourth at the OIWFA championship. The team entered the tournament as the wildcard eighth seed and lost their opening game to the eventual champion Western Mustangs, but the team rebounded with two straight wins in the double knockout format to earn a place in the bronze medal game.

FIRST COHORT OF RTA: SPORT MEDIA STUDENTS GRADUATE

Without question, the partnership between the Rams and the RTA: Sport Media program has taken both entities to new levels. In 2018, the first cohort of Sport Media graduates crossed the stage at convocation, marking a changing of the guard in Rams coverage. Students engage with the department by working on broadcasts, writing game stories, providing social media coverage, creating videos and features, and so much more. The Rams Athletics and Recreation department continues to grow the partnership with the faculty as new positions have been created to provide more opportunities for our talented students.

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