Jan. 12, 2013
CHICAGO - The Ramblers earned their first win of the season on Saturday night, defeating St. Ambrose in their home opener, 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-19). Joseph Smalzer (Palos Heights, Ill.) led all players with 10 kills, collecting a team-high eight digs and three block assists. Dainis Berzins (Brinklow, Md.) followed with eight kills while Diego Rodriguez (Oak Park, Ill.) dished out 19 assists.
Thomas Jaeschke (Wheaton, Ill.) opened the first set knocking down a trio of kills to put the Ramblers out front 5-4. Eric Daliege (Orland Park, Ill.) and Smalzer teamed up for a block, followed by back-to-back kills from Smalzer and Jaeschke to extend Loyola's lead 13-9. A timeout by St. Ambrose stopped the run and a kill by Dan Dierking brought the Bees within three. It was the closest the Bees would get as Loyola capitalized on errors to close the set with a kill by Daliege, 25-18.
The teams battled back and forth at the start of the second set. A kill by Berzins followed by a block from Rodriguez and Olson triggered a 10-1 run, sending the Ramblers out front 14-6. Loyola held onto the lead, winning the battle at the net. Berzins and Danny Podkowa (Glenview, Ill.) teamed up for a block to capture the set, 25-15.
Loyola took control of the third frame, holding the Bees to a .077 hitting percentage. A kill by Smalzer started a 5-1 run for the Ramblers who continued to pull away from St. Ambrose, 9-4. The Bees would stay within four points of Loyola until an error by Ryan Mahl and final service ace from Jeff Patton sealed the win, 25-19.
The Ramblers remain at home, hosting Carthage on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m.