Photo by Alex D'Addese

Team effort powers Rams to five set win over Lions

By Andrea Elliott

TORONTO - The Ryerson Rams men's volleyball team used a team effort to defeat the York Lions in five sets (19-25, 25-23, 25-16, 22-25, 19-17) in a thriller of a match on Friday night.

The Rams offence took a while to get going in this one, but it was worth the grind as Ryerson earned a hard-fought win to move to 4-3 on the season.

Ryerson struggled in the first set, recording just eight kills, and the Lions took advantage to earn a 25-19 first set win. Things weren't looking great for the Rams in the second set, either, as they fell behind 17-9. But a strong service run from setter Saad Shaikh and some strong play at the net saw the Rams turn that deficit into an 18-17 lead. Suddenly the Rams had momentum and after some heated exchanges on celebrations, there was energy in the Ryerson squad. A kill from Xander Ketrzynski eventually ended the set as the Rams took it 25-23 to tie the match at 1-1.

The Rams weren't too keen on letting their momentum slip away, and they started the third set strong and by the technical timeout had built a 16-9 lead. The Lions never threatened to close the gap and Ryerson took the set 25-16 to hold a 2-1 match lead.

In the fourth the two teams were neck and neck for much of the set, until a string of four straight kills from the Lions gave them some separation and a 20-17 lead. The Rams got back to within one at 21-20 but couldn't close things out down the stretch and a fifth set was needed to decide a winner.

Neither team had more than a one point advantage throughout the fifth set until the final point, giving the fans an exciting finish. After a York kill gave the Lions a 14-13 lead, Ryerson called timeout and the following York serve went sailing through the court for an error. After more points were exchanged, Ketrzynski was nearly unstoppable down the stretch for the Rams. After he gave the Rams an 18-17 lead, the Lions hit their next attack wide right and Ryerson was able to celebrate their 3-2 victory.

Ketrzynski finished with 29 kills, just one kill shy of the Rams all-time single game record. Riley Anderson also had a good night for the Rams with seven kills out of the middle, while Isaac McKeague played a big role in the comeback with six kills.

Four Lions finished in double digits in kills, led by Toure Nwakwesi with 18.

The Rams will wrap up the 2018 portion of their schedule on Saturday night when they visit the Nipissing Lakers starting at 8:00 p.m.

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