March 28, 2013
CHICAGO - Thomas Jaeschke led a balanced attack with 11 kills and Joe Smalzer added nine kills and 10 digs as Loyola swept Grand Canyon for the second consecutive night, 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-21), tonight at Gentile Arena. Smalzer's nine put-aways pushed him over the 1,000-kill mark for his career as the Ramblers improved to 17-8 (8-3 MIVA). Grand Canyon drops to 14-12 (5-7) with the loss.
"I am proud of the effort tonight," said head coach Shane Davis. "It is not easy to sweep any team, particuarly a conference team, two consecutive nights. We got off to a good start and were focused right from the opening serve and even though we did not play as well in the third set we buckled down and were able to close at the end."
Two kills and an ace from Smalzer led the way as Loyola scored five of the first seven points of the match and a block from Smalzer and Eric Daliege later gave the Ramblers a 10-5 lead. Loyola's efficient offense was the story as the home team rarely let Grand Canyon string together consecutive points and two Jaeschke kills and one from Peter Hutz on set point wrapped up a comprehensive 25-16 LU win in the opening set. The Ramblers hit a sizzling .682 (17-2-22) in the frame, with Jaeschke leading the way with five kills, and were able to side-out on 14 of 16 chances.
The second set started in similar fashion with Loyola grabbing an early 7-3 lead on a Nick Olson ace. A Hutz kill made it 12-6 before the Antelopes rattled off the next three points to stay within striking distance. However, Olson ended the run with a kill and Smalzer served up three more points to make it a 16-9 game and the visitors would get no closer than five the rest of the way, with Jaeschke serving up the final four points to send the Ramblers into intermission with a 2-0 lead in the match.
Grand Canyon came out with renewed energy for the third set and it was tight throughout. Loyola led 10-8 after a Daliege kill but the Antelopes rattled off five of the next six to grab a 13-11 lead midway through the set. A Cody Caldwell ace gave LU a 14-13 lead and the teams essentially traded points all the way to 19-all before the Ramblers made their move. Serving substitute Trevor Novotny gave Loyola a huge lift from the line, drilling an ace in a 4-0 run that gave the hosts a commanding 23-19 lead. Grand Canyon responded by tallying the next two to make it 23-21 but a Caldwell kill sent the Ramblers to match point and Smalzer ended it with an ace down the sideline.
Jaeschke's 11 kills came at .429 efficiency (11-2-21) to lead the Ramblers. Smalzer narrowly missed a double-double with his nine kills and 10 digs (three aces) while Caldwell (nine kills, six digs), Olson (eight kills) and Daliege (six kills, five blocks) rounded out the balanced attack.
"It was great that Joe could get to 1,000 kills at home and it is a great individual accomplishment for him," continued Davis. "I know he was happier about coming away with a win and now we have some time to prepare for a good Ohio State team."
Loyola has eight days off before returning to action next Saturday with a key MIVA match against Ohio State. First serve from Gentile Arena is set for 4 p.m.