Tigers eliminate tournament host Rams in four sets

Tigers eliminate tournament host Rams in four sets

TORONTO (U SPORTS) – Courtney Baker tallied a team-high 19 points, and the Dalhousie Tigers booked their place in the fifth-place match with a 3-1 (25-19, 25-21, 12-25, 25-19) victory over the Ryerson Rams on Saturday afternoon at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in the second consolation semifinal.

Baker worked at a .211 efficiency for the Tigers, tallying 16 kills on 38 attacks while adding a pair of aces. Lauren Koskowich (Calgary, Alta.) added eight kills on ten attempts for an impressive .800 efficiency, and was named player of the game for Dalhousie, who will take on Western in the fifth-place game on Sunday morning. 

"I thought we did a really good job," said Tigers coach Rick Scott. "Playing in the consolation semi is never easy because your coming off disappointment from 12 hours before. I thought the girls were really resilient and started strong. We regained our composure in the fourth (after losing the third), and we got a bit serving run from (Haworth), got some momentum and we were able to finish strong. Proud of the girls and pleased and looking forward to tomorrow." 

"It was  great game, our serve-receive really came together, it was really what put us over the edge to beat Ryerson today," said Koskowich. "In the fourth set we came out really strong, and hungry. Coming from the AUS we always want to represent our conference and its really important to us to win games like this." 

Theanna Vernon led Ryerson with a game-high 21 points, including 15 kills and six blocks, and Veronica Livingston tallied 10 kills and three aces for the Rams in a losing cause.

"Most of all more than anything I was happy to us feeling good about playing well," said Rams coach Dustin Reid. "We've lost three matches in a row to some really good teams here in the playoffs and usually your season doesn't continue when (that happens). Just to see them play the way they know they can with the spirit and enjoyment (was good to see)."

Baker picked up five kills in the opening set for Dalhousie, while the Rams struggled offensively, committing nine errors in the stanza while working at just a .026 hitting efficiency. After going into the technical up by three, the Tigers used an 8-3 run to bring up a set point. Ryerson was able to save three on a pair of kills from Livingston (Kelowna, B.C.) and a Dalhousie error, but the AUS champions would not be denied, taking a 1-0 match lead.

The Rams battled hard in the second, keeping pace with the Tigers in the early stages of the set. An ace by Mady Timpany (Woodstock, Ont.) brought Ryerson within a point of the lead, but a block by Anna Dunn-Suen (Halifax, N.S.) was followed by an ace from Baker (Bridgewater, N.S.), giving Dalhousie a 16-13 lead at the technical break.  

Back-to-back Tiger attacks that went long cut the deficit to one, and Livingston shot the ball off the Dalhousie blockers and into the open court to even the set. After a Vernon block, a net touch by the Tigers allowed the Rams to take the lead. Dalhousie answered with three-straight points, two of which came off Ryerson attack errors, to move back in front. Fifth-year veteran Amy Applebee (Fredericton, N.B.) notched the second stanza with an ace to give the Tigers a two-set advantage. 

An ace from DuMont (Kamloops, B.C.) gave the Tigers a 4-2 advantage, but Vernon continued her dominance in the middle of the net, picking up three early kills to even the set 5-5. A block by Scarborough, Ont. native was followed by an ace from Lauren Veltman (Brampton, Ont.) to give Ryerson a two-point lead. An ace by Jade Griffiths (Windsor, Ont.) increased the advantage, and after a Dalhousie attack error, the tournament hosts took a 16-10 lead at the technical. 

The Rams further cemented their spread with consecutive blocks, and Kristine Yan (Markham, Ont.) pushed the advantage to double-digits with a powerful strike from the left side. Back-to-back aces from Livingston helped Ryerson win its first set of the weekend. 

After going down 12-8 in the fourth, the Rams grabbed four of the next five points and cut the deficit to one. Veltman and Griffiths then exchanged kills to even the match at 16-16 coming out of the technical, but three-straight aces from Victoria Haworth (Waverley, N.S.) capped a 7-0 Dalhousie run that brought up match-point, and a kill from DuMont sent the Tigers through for a date with the Mustangs for fifth-place on Sunday. 

"(We are) really excited to play Western, they are a great team, they have lot of strong players," said Koskowich. "I met their coach a few times, and she's a great lady so I'm excited to go out there and see what we can do." 

The Tigers and Mustangs will do battle at 10:00 a.m. (EST) on Sunday.