Photo by Alex D'Addese

Gaels too much for Rams in battle for first place

By Andrea Elliott

KINGSTON - The Ryerson Rams men's volleyball team was unable to extend their win streak on Sunday, falling to 3-0 (23-25, 23-25, 20-25) to the Queen's Gaels.

Ryerson's six-game win streak came to a halt in a game they maybe needed the most. With the win, Queen's takes sole possession of first place in the OUA East division and swept the season series with the Rams.

Ryerson suffered an early blow on Sunday, losing middle Riley Anderson just six points into the first set when he went down after a block attempt. He did not return to the match, and his absence was felt.

Ryerson trailed by as many as six points in the first set but found their stride in the latter stages to go on a run to tie the set at 23-23. Jordan Baric posted back to back kills to tie things up and force a Queen's timeout, but the Gaels were able to claim the final two points of the set to win 25-23 and take a 1-0 match lead.

In the second it was Ryerson who found themselves with an early lead, earning a three point edge, but that lead disappeared as Queen's rallied to take a 13-11 advantage. The Gaels continued to lead by two at the technical timeout, but with some change in personnel, Ryerson rallied to retake the lead at 19-17. Setter Saad Shaikh and outside hitter Joel Hannan both entered the set just before the technical and they sparked the Rams play to take the lead. 

After the teams exchanged points the set was tied at 22-22 and two straight points from Queen's had them poised to take the set. A service miscue by the Gaels gave Ryerson some life, but a Queen's kill finished the set at 25-23 and the Rams found themselves down 2-0 overall.

The Gaels sensed a victory was coming their way and kept the pedal to the metal in the third. Queen's opened the set with a 6-2 lead and Ryerson was never able to regroup to challenge for the lead. Trailing 22-15, Ryerson went on a quick 3-0 run to narrow the gap and force a timeout, but the Gaels had enough of a buffer to pull out the 25-20 win and sweep the match.

Ryerson's Xander Ketrzynski led the team with 14 kills while Zac Hutcheson had a game-high 18 kills for Queen's. Rams first year Omari Young, who came in for Anderson, tallied two solo blocks, three block assists, two kills, and three digs.

The Rams will be back in action on Friday, February 1 when they host the Toronto Varsity Blues at 8:00 p.m. at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

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