March 3, 2012
CHICAGO - Powered by a steady attack, No. 15 Loyola crushed Quincy tonight in three sets (25-22, 25-15, 25-16) to sweep the weekend series. The Ramblers improve to 10-8 overall (3-3 MIVA), while the Hawks fall to 13-7, 0-6.
Loyola took the 6-3 lead in the first set but the two teams traded points early to keep the game tight. A bullet from Dainis Berzins set the score at 15-11 before multiple errors brought the Hawks within one (15-14). With Jeff Patton behind the line to serve, Loyola rattled off four consecutive points with help from Cody Caldwell and Steve Thompson. Matt Mirick and Eric Daliege put away back-to-back kills to end the set 25-22.
Errors once again left the Hawks playing catch-up as Loyola jumped to a 7-3 start in the second. Paced by a pair of kills from Daliege and Caldwell sandwiched between service aces from Joseph Smalzer, the Ramblers extended their lead to 12-4. A combined block from Caldwell and Thompson put the Ramblers one away from set point (23-14). Quincy's Ryan Lehmann postponed the win with a kill to make 24-15, but Smalzer answered to close it out.
Quincy came on stronger in the final set, taking a 6-5 lead on a kill by John Pranger. Repeated kills from Caldwell tied the score and handed the Ramblers back the lead they would hold for the rest of the match. Daliege served through a four-point run to push to 13-8. Smalzer fired a kill to make it 16-11 and another to bring the score to 18-3. Caldwell finished out the match after sandwiching kills around a service ace from Berzins.
Loyola triggered a .425 hitting percentage on the night and held Quincy to a .180 average. Smalzer and Caldwell guided the Ramblers on offense with 13 and 12 kills, respectively. Thompson and Daliege added seven kills apiece. As a team, the Ramblers also tallied six service aces in the contest.
The Ramblers head back out west where they will start the week against Cal Baptist on Wednesday, March 7 before moving to a re-match against Cal State Northridge on Friday, March 9. The games will take place at 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., respectively.