Jan. 26, 2013
CHICAGO - Solid defensive play at the net helped the Ramblers sweep NJIT on Saturday night (25-22, 25-21, 25-15). Loyola had a season-high 13 total team blocks, holding NJIT to a .047 hitting percentage. Eric Daliege (Orland Park, Ill.) led the Ramblers with six total blocks while Joseph Smalzer paced all attackers tallying nine kills and four service aces.
Smalzer opened the match for Loyola, helping his team jump to a 4-0 lead behind two service aces. NJIT signaled for a timeout, briefly stalling Loyola, but the Ramblers continued to control play, taking a 9-4 advantage. The Highlanders began to chip away at the lead, tying the game 16-all. Thomas Jaeschke (Wheaton, Ill.) and Nicholas Olson (New Berlin, Wis.) answered, teaming up at the net for a block. The Ramblers continued to stay out front with a final kill by Diego Rodriguez (Oak Park, Ill.) giving Loyola set one, 25-22.
Loyola took advantage of NJIT errors to establish a 5-2 lead at the start of the second frame. The Highlanders stayed within three points throughout most of the game until a kill by Smalzer put Loyola ahead 18-14. A kill by Daliege and service ace from Jeff Patton (Auburn, Calif.) extended Loyola's lead 21-16. NJIT made an attempt at a comeback, taking a 4-0 run before Trevor Novotny (Waukesha, Wis.), Smalzer and Olson closed out the set with a block, 25-21.
Novotny saved his best for last, helping the Ramblers establish a commanding 8-1 lead in the third set, notching consecutive service aces. Errors plagued the Highlanders as Loyola continued to pull away with Novotny and Smalzer pacing the attack as Eric Daliege anchored the Ramblers at the net with a solo stuff and two block assists. A kill by Novotny completed the sweep, 25-15.
The Ramblers return to play next weekend, traveling to Springfield, Mass., where they will play in the Morgan Classic. The first match will be played against Harvard on Friday, Feb. 1 at 5 p.m. CST.