Jan. 22, 2013
CHICAGO – The Ramblers closed out their East Coast trip on Tuesday, falling to No. 6 Penn State, 3-0 (27-25, 25-16, 25-19). Joseph Smalzer (Palos Heights, Ill.) led all attackers with 11 kills while Dainis Berzins (Brinklow, Md.) had a strong showing with 10 kills, seven digs and a block assist.
Loyola edged the Nittany Lions at the start of the match, hanging on to a one-point lead. A trio of kills gave the Ramblers a 7-4 advantage with three points separating the teams throughout most of the match. Consecutive service aces by Penn State tied the game 16-all and the Nittany Lions capitalized on a Loyola error to take the lead for the first time. Smalzer and Thomas Jaeschke (Wheaton, Ill.) kept the Ramblers in the game and a Berzins kill handed the team a two-point advantage over the Nittany Lions, 23-21. Another kill from Berzins gave Loyola the first set point, but Penn State fought back as a trio of kills helped the Nittany Lions to a 27-25 win.
Riding the momentum of the first set, Penn State scored four unanswered points to take a 7-3 lead over Loyola. Eric Daliege (Orland Park, Ill.) had a quick kill to halt the Nittany Lion run, as Smalzer led a late charge, putting away six more kills. It was not enough for the Ramblers, and Penn State took the second frame, 25-16.
In the final set Penn State controlled the pace early, establishing a 15-9 lead. Daliege and Jaeschke teamed up for a block to slow the Nittany Lion run. Back-to-back kills by Daliege followed by a service ace from Smalzer put Loyola within five, initiating a Penn State timeout with the score 18-13. At the return of play, the Ramblers continued a 7-2 run capped off by a service ace from Jaeschke to close Penn State’s lead, 20-17. A kill by Berzins kept Loyola within three, but a 4-1 run by the Nittany Lions closed out the night, 25-19.
Loyola finished 2-1 on the East Coast and returns to Chicago this weekend as it hosts George Mason and NJIT. The Ramblers take on the Patriots, Friday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. in Gentile Arena.