This year’s Gold Medal game features an undefeated Ryerson Rams team, taking on the seventh seeded Alberta Pandas, who previously this weekend took down the second and third seeded teams. This kind of matchup makes for an energetic, and high pressure game from the first serve to the last.
Set 1: 25-22 Ryerson
Set 2: 31-29 Alberta
Set 3: 25-19 Ryerson
Set 4: 25-21 Ryerson
A big first set led by Lauren Veltman (Ryerson) and Theanna Vernon (Ryerson) had the Rams sitting nicely with a five point lead at the technical timeout. The Pandas would chip back and make things close to the end of the set, ultimately falling 25-22 to the Rams. Ryerson taking a 1-0 lead in the Gold Medal game. Erin Corbett leads the Pandas with 4 kills, Veltman leading Ryerson with 6.
A barrage of blocks brings the Rams to a quick 5-1 lead in the second, causing the Pandas to use their first timeout of the set early. In the rest of the action leading up to the technical timeout, the Pandas were unable to mount much of a comeback, mainly because of a fourth year middle named Theanna Vernon with back-back-back blocks to kill any sort of Panda attack. The Rams cruised to a comfortable 16-9 lead going into the technical timeout, and looked to pad the lead further. The Pandas would not go down quietly though, as they brought it back to a two point game late in the set. The game then proceeded to change hands multiple times, as the set ended at 31-29 going the way of the Pandas. Both teams fighting for their lives on each and every point. Corbett and Veltman still leading their respective teams with 7 and 14 respectively. Theanna Vernon and Janelle Albert combining for 14 total blocks through two sets (8,6)
The marathon continues into the third set, as long rallies and back and forth points are present after each serve. A quick 9-4 Rams lead has the Pandas once again calling an early timeout. With a 16-10 lead, Ryerson sends it to the technical timeout. Coming out of the timeout, they went on a blocking tear, sending back everything Alberta could throw at them. A late surge by the Pandas brought them to down five at 21-16, bringing a timeout called by the Rams. It would just come up short for Alberta, as they bring it to within two, but ultimately lose the set 25-19. Ryerson moves to 2-1 in the game, one set away from bringing home gold. Kory White takes over the team lead with 9 kills, Veltman maintains her team lead at 14 kills. Theanna Vernon and Janelle Albert now up to a combined for 22 total blocks through three sets (13,9)
Fourth out of a possible five sets, started off going the Pandas way, as they jumped out to an early 11-8 lead. A scary moment before the next point as Vernon goes down hard, and is forced to leave the game for the time being, causing fourth year Jena Bonello to come in. She must have brought something out with her on the court, as the Rams proceed to go on a run, and tie the game up at 13-13, causing an Alberta timeout. A 7-3 run for the Pandas brings the game to 20-13, and Ryerson called a timeout of their own. The Ryerson Rams would prevail though, holding on for the 25-21 win; securing the National Championship, the first in school history, and their perfect season, 25-0.
Ryerson was led by:
- Theanna Vernon (Player of the Game/ Tournament MVP): 13 total blocks, 11 kills
- Lauren Veltman: 20 kills, 3 aces
- Alicia Lam: 43 assists, 14 digs
- Janelle Albert: 10 kills, 28 digs
The Pandas were led by:
- Erin Corbett: 13 kills, 18 digs
- Kory White: 14 kills, 9 digs
The Ryerson Rams are U SPORTS Champions.
Photos courtesy: Alex D’Addese/ Canadian University Network