Ramblers Stage a Comeback to Defeat Harvard, 3-1
Feb. 1, 2013
CHICAGO - Three players posted double-digit kills on Friday night, helping Loyola University Chicago men's volleyball defeat Harvard, 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-18). After dropping the first set, the Ramblers staged a comeback led by Thomas Jaeschke (Wheaton, Ill.) who posted a team-high 14 kills on the night. Eric Daliege (Orland Park, Ill.) collected six total blocks while Diego Rodriguez (Oak Park, Ill.) tallied 46 assists.
Loyola opened the night jumping to a 5-2 lead behind a service ace from Joseph Smalzer (Palos Heights, Ill.) and a kill by Jaeschke. Harvard worked to close the lead, stringing together a 3-0 run to tie the set six-all. The Crimson continued to ride this momentum, taking the lead from Loyola, 9-7. With errors slowing down the Ramblers, a timeout was called allowing Loyola to regroup. Back-to-back kills by Daliege and Rodriguez helped Loyola tie the set 14-all. The Ramblers could not hold on, however, as the Crimson held Loyola to a .111 hitting percentage, taking the first set, 25-23.
“Game one we jumped out to a quick lead early-on, but Harvard came back with some big plays, taking the momentum away from us,” said Loyola head coach Shane Davis. “We were able to make a few changes and gain some momentum at the end of the game that the players carried over into game two.”
Set two was a different story for Loyola as the team came back with a .560 hitting percentage. The teams battled for control at the start, staying within one until the Ramblers scored five unanswered points beginning with consecutive kills from Smalzer. A Crimson timeout attempted to halt the Rambler attack, but Loyola had other ideas, taking a commanding 10-6 lead. Smalzer teamed up with Daliege and later with Nicholas Olson (New Berlin, Wis.) to anchor Loyola at the net while Jaeschke tallied five kills, cushioning Loyola's four-point lead, 17-13. Trevor Novotny (Waukesha, Wis.) followed suit, putting away a kill to start a late 4-0 run as Jaeschke closed the set for the Ramblers, 25-18.
Loyola continued to make a statement in the third frame with Smalzer and Novotny pacing the attack. A quick Daliege kill began the strongest run of the night as the Ramblers tallied six consecutive points. With the score 8-3, Harvard signaled for a timeout, temporarily putting an end to the run. A service ace by Jeff Patton (Auburn, Calif.) split back-to-back kills from Novotny, extending the Ramblers lead 18-12. The Crimson attempted to catch Loyola, but Novotny blasted a final kill, giving Loyola the 25-21 win.
In the final set Loyola held on to a slim two-point lead until Smalzer posted four unanswered points with a trio of aces and a kill, pushing the Ramblers to a 16-8 lead. The Crimson broke up the run with a timeout, threatening Loyola's commanding 22-14 lead with its own 4-0 run. Jaeschke answered, putting away a kill to give Loyola the match point as Smalzer ended the set, 25-18, with his fifth service ace of the night.
Loyola moves on to the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic Championship playing Springfield College on Saturday, Feb. 2.
“We’re excited to play Springfield College,” said Davis. “They’re a well-coached team and we’re looking forward to the challenge of playing them on their home court."
The Pride improved to a 5-1 record after defeating Juniata in three straight (25-15, 25-20, 25-21) following Loyola's win. First serve for the match on Saturday is at 7 p.m. CST. Fans are able to follow along at home with live stats or live video.