UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Ben Plaisted recorded 12 kills and 10 digs for his second double-double of the season, but it wasn't enough as No. 15 Penn State (3-2) outlasted No. 9 Loyola University Chicago tonight, 25-17, 15-25, 25-21, 16-25, 15-11 at Rec Hall. The loss drops the Ramblers to 3-3 overall and all three of their setbacks have come at the hands of nationally ranked foes.
How It Happened
Penn State stormed out of the gates to a 7-1 lead in the opening set and never looked back en route to a 25-17 victory. Loyola used a 6-2 run, which featured a pair of service aces from Jeff Jendryk, to turn a seven-point deficit into a 12-9 match, but the Nittany Lions answered with four of the next five points to stretch their lead to 16-10.
Jendryk provided kills for three of the Ramblers' first four points in the second set and Loyola would later benefit from a 9-2 run that broke the set open and gave the Maroon and Gold a 16-7 advantage. Loyola hit .429 (12-3-21) in set two, while Penn State went ice cold, connecting on -.130 (7-10-23) of its attacks. Jendryk recorded five of his 10 kills on the night in the second set alone.
Much like in the opening set, the Nittany Lions raced out to an early 6-1 lead and withstood a Loyola rally to earn a 25-21 victory. Trailing 8-3, Collin Mahan sparked a 7-4 Loyola run with a kill, and another stop from Cole Murray capped the spurt as the Ramblers closed within 12-10. However, back-to-back Loyola hitting errors touched off a 4-0 run that allowed Penn State to regain momentum and Loyola would later get within 21-19, but get no closer.
Clinging to an 8-7 lead in set four, a Plaisted kill, followed by consecutive blocks and a PSU error, gave Loyola some breathing room and a five-point cushion (12-7). Penn State would chop the Loyola lead down to three, but the Ramblers were able to extend their advantage to 21-13 on another Mahan kill and they went on to collect a 25-16 victory and force a fifth and deciding set.
The teams exchanged points at the outset of the fifth set before Penn State reeled off three straight points to break a tie and open up a 9-6 advantage, and it would never surrender that lead. Loyola sliced a four-point deficit in half, closing to 12-10 on a pair of Nittany Lion errors, but two straight kills from Chris Nugent allowed PSU to regain control of the contest as it picked up a 15-11 victory.
Inside The Box Score
- Loyola out-hit Penn State, .233 to .184.
- Will Tischler contributed 11 kills and seven digs for Loyola, which also received 10 kills and five blocks from Jendryk.
- Mahan fell just shy of a double-double, notching eight kills and nine digs.
- Nugent led Penn State with 15 kills.
Loyola closes out its trip to the east coast when it visits No. 11 George Mason Saturday (Jan. 21) at 6 p.m. Central.