The last quarter-final matchup of the night at Laval University’s PEPS Gymnasium (Quebec City, QC) saw the #4 Ryerson Rams of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference, taking on the #5 UBC Okanagan Heat from Canada West. The two teams slugged out the entire match, with big plays following big plays, in a back and forth matchup that resembled the teeter-totter from the school yard back in the Elementary school days.
Set 1: 25-22 UBC Okanagan
Set 2: 25-18 UBC Okanagan
Set 3: 25-23 Ryerson
Set 4: 25-23 Ryerson
Set 5: 15-8 Ryerson
The first set saw a see-saw battle, with nobody running away with a lead. At the first technical timeout, a narrow 16-15 lead was held by the Heat, only to change hands again right away. Eventually ending with a score of 25-22 in favour of UBC Okanagan.
Set number two started just like the first, 16-15 at the technical for the Heat. Once again, nobody taking a commanding lead. Until, late in the set, UBC Okanagan mounted a run, to take it by a score of 25-18. They then moved one set away from a sweep of the Rams, thanks in large part to third year middle Aidan Lea.
Set three, a different story for the Rams, taking a commanding seven point lead late in the set, only to see it knocked down to two by the Heat’s strong attack. Fifth year libero Julie Longman was a vacuum in the back court as Ryerson ended up holding on for the 25-23 win, forcing a fourth set, and avoiding the sweep.
The Ryerson high powered offence came out early, and often as Lauren Veltman, Janelle Albert, and the ever present Theanna Vernon made their presences known on both sides of the ball. After a 16-10 technical timeout lead, they hung on for an emotional 25-23 win, forcing fifth and final set.
Fifth set, both teams clinging on to their medal hopes, and a chance to play come Sunday. An early Rams lead had them up 8-6 at the side switch, in the high tempo, high emotion, final set of the night. The Ryerson Rams would eventually come out on top in a 15-8 battle between two high powered offences. Riding on the shoulders of fourth year standout middle Theanna Vernon, they now move on to the semi-finals against the Calgary Dinos, 8pm EDT tomorrow night.
The Heat will play the Laval Rouge et Or tomorrow afternoon, 3 pm EDT.
Ryerson was led offensively by their core four weapons:
- Janelle Albert 15 kills, 10 digs
- Lauren Veltman 12 kills, 1 service ace
- Theanna Vernon 10 kills, 10 total blocks
- Cailan Wark 10 kills, 2 service aces
On the defensive side: Libero Julie Longman racked up 20 digs in the back row.
For the Heat, Aidan Lea dominated their offence with 18 kills and 5 total blocks, and Michelle Jakszuk chipped in 16 kills and 13 digs.