Feb. 20, 2013
CHICAGO – Loyola University Chicago men’s volleyball split the first four sets with IPFW on Wednesday night, forcing the Mastodons to a fifth set before falling short of the win, 3-2 (22-25, 25-12, 16-25, 29-27, 15-11).
Thomas Jaeschke (Wheaton, Ill.) led the floor with a career-high 19 kills, hitting .441 on the night. Joseph Smalzer (Palos Heights, Ill.) followed closely with 14 kills and three service aces. Peter Jasaitis (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) paced the Ramblers defense with 11 digs while Eric Daliege (Orland Park, Ill.) notched five total blocks.
The first set started close with both teams battling for control of the game as Loyola took a 12-9 advantage. IPFW worked its way to the front, tying the game four times before a block by Trevor Novotny (Waukesha, Wis.) and Danny Podkowa (Glenview, Ill.) followed by a service ace from Diego Rodriguez (Oak Park, Ill.) put the Ramblers back in the lead, 18-16. The Mastodons signaled for a timeout, going on to tie the game three more times before a service ace by Jaeschke and block by Rodriguez and Daliege gave the Ramblers their first set point, 24-21. IPFW held Loyola off for one play before a final kill by Daliege gave the Ramblers the first set, 25-22.
IPFW refused to back down in the second frame, jumping to an immediate 7-3 lead before Loyola took its first timeout. Consecutive kills by Smalzer and Dainis Berzins (Brinklow, Md.) briefly stalled the Mastodons before IPFW began a 7-1 run to remain in control of the game, 16-6. Loyola came within nine, but the Mastodons managed to hold the Ramblers to a .000 hitting percentage, collecting five team blocks and closing the set 25-12.
Loyola rebounded in the third set taking a 7-4 lead over IPFW. Berzins led the Ramblers on a 5-0 run, posting consecutive kills before teaming up with Podkowa at the net to give his team a 12-5 advantage. The Mastodons worked their way within five points of Loyola, 16-9, but it was as close as they would get as the Ramblers posted an impressive .560 hitting percentage led by Jaeschke who managed six kills. Jaeschke closed the set, 25-16, to give Loyola the 2-1 advantage heading into set four.
After both teams took turns at dominating runs earlier in the night, the fourth set remained neck-and-neck until the very end. IPFW took a slim one point lead until the Ramblers rattled off five unanswered points to lead 8-4, backed by a trio of Jaeschke kills and consecutive service aces from Smalzer. The Mastodons answered with four unanswered points of their own to trail 10-9. The teams tied the game three times before a 3-0 run by the Ramblers forced an IPFW timeout as Loyola led 19-15. Although the Ramblers would take the first set point, the Mastodons were bent on a comeback, forcing off three Loyola set points and scoring the final two points to take the fourth set, 29-27.
With the match split at two games each, Loyola jumped to an early 3-0 lead in the final set as Podkowa rattled off a kill and a service ace to help his team to the front. IPFW answered with consecutive kills to trail, 3-2, but a 4-0 run by the Ramblers allowed the host team to keep a 7-2 lead. The Mastodons took advantage of Loyola errors going on a 9-1 spree to force the Ramblers into their second timeout. The brief pause helped Loyola regroup as Novotny blasted a kill to bring the Ramblers within two, 12-10. It was not enough as a final kill by IPFW gave the Mastodons the 15-11 win.
Loyola drops to 9-6 overall and 2-2 in conference play. The Ramblers close their five-game homestand on Saturday, Feb. 23, when they host conference rival Ball State. First serve is set for 6 p.m. CST.