Ramblers Cage the Hawks, 3-1




Feb. 8, 2013

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CHICAGO - Loyola University Chicago men's volleyball opened MIVA play on Friday night defeating Quincy, 3-1. The Ramblers had a season-high 14 total team blocks, holding the Hawks to a .036 hitting percentage.

Joseph Smalzer (Palos Heights, Ill.) paced the Rambler attack with 10 kills, followed by Dainis Berzins (Brinklow, Md.) who tallied nine. Eric Daliege (Orland Park, Ill.) led all players with seven total blocks while Danny Podkowa (Glenview, Ill.) posted six block assists.

The teams battled back and forth early in the first set with three different lead changes occurring before Quincy settled into the lead, 8-5. Loyola called a timeout, slowing the Hawks run with a service ace by Thomas Jaeschke (Wheaton, Ill.). Quincy continued to pull away, however, taking a 17-10 advantage with consecutive errors by the Ramblers. Podkowa entered the game, bringing energy to the Loyola squad as he put away two kills and teamed up with Smalzer at the net to bring Loyola within four. A kill by Smalzer initiated a 4-0 run late in the set, as a service ace by Diego Rodriguez (Oak Park, Ill.) followed by a Hawks error tied the match 22-all. The Ramblers denied Quincy its first set point, but two back-to-back kills by the Hawks closed the set, 26-24. 

At the start of the second frame, both teams worked to establish an early lead. Berzins blasted a kill to begin a 9-2 run, catapulting the Ramblers to a 17-10 advantage. Errors plagued Quincy late in the set as Loyola held its opponent to a -.034 hitting percentage. Podkowa, Jaeschke and Smalzer would end the set 25-16, teaming up at the net for a block.

Continuing with its momentum, Loyola scored five unanswered points in set three led by a trio of kills from Smalzer to put the Ramblers out front, 5-0. Quincy worked to stall Loyola's attack, taking advantage of errors to come within five points of the Ramblers, 12-7. Loyola signaled for the timeout, returning to play with a sense of urgency. Berzins and Smalzer blasted kills late in the game, giving the Ramblers a 22-14 advantage. A final service ace by Jeff Patton ended the set, 25-15 as Loyola took the 2-1 advantage over the Hawks.

The fourth and final set began much like the third frame as Loyola continued to make an early statement, taking the lead, 7-1. Trevor Novotny (Waukesha, Wis.) lit up the service line, earning three consecutive service aces to give the Ramblers a 13-4 advantage. Matt Phillips (Minooka, Ill.) took over for Smalzer at opposite hitter, fueling a run by Loyola with three kills and a service ace to give the team a 20-9 lead. A kill by Podkowa and service ace from Rodriguez closed the night, 25-14, as Loyola collected its first conference win.

The Ramblers continue conference play tomorrow night, hosting Lindenwood at 7 p.m. The Lions dropped their match on Friday night against Lewis, falling to 1-5 on the season.