MUNCIE, Ind. -
Cole Murray tallied a career-best 18 kills, and added seven digs and four blocks, but it wasn't enough as short-handed and fifth-seeded Loyola University Chicago drooped a 25-17, 19-25, 18-25, 23-25 decision to fourth-seeded Ball State (19-9) in a Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament quarterfinal round match tonight at Worthen Arena. The loss ends the No. 12 Ramblers' season at 16-12 overall and this is the first time since 2000 that Loyola has bowed out of the MIVA Tournament in the quarterfinals.
How It Happened
Playing without an injured Ben Plaisted, who leads the team in kills, Loyola broke a 9-9 tie by reeling off five unanswered points as part of an 8-2 run that gave it a commanding 17-11 lead. Kyler Kotsakis, who was making his first career start in place of the injured Plaisted, had four kills in the opening set alone and two aces and a kill in the 5-0 spurt. Loyola's lead would grow as many as eight points and it would coast to a 25-17 victory.
No. 11 Ball State picked itself off the mat and jumped out to an 8-4 lead in the second set, never looking back en route to a 25-19 victory that knotted the match up at 1-1. A kill by Paul Narup and then a Narup/Collin Mahan block got the Ramblers within 15-12, but they would get no closer the rest of the set.
Loyola charged out to a 7-4 lead at the outset of set three before Ball State rallied to tie things up at 10. The Ramblers held a slim 15-14 advantage but then went cold, recording five straight hitting errors that allowed the Cardinals to open up a 19-15 edge and BSU coasted to a 25-19 win.
Loyola found itself in a precarious position, down 19-14, but tallied four consecutive points, the last coming on a Jake Freeman service ace, to close within 19-18 in the fourth set. After Ball State countered with back-to-back points to push its lead to 21-18, , the Ramblers showed their mettle, refusing to go down without one final push. Loyola used a 4-1 spurt to tie the set at 22 on a Cardinal attack error, but Ball State closed out the set by recording three of the final four points to earn a 25-23 victory and earn a trip to the MIVA Tournament semifinals.
Inside The Box Score
- Loyola hit .436 (29-5-55) through the first two sets, but just .082 (24-19-61) in the final two sets.
- Collin Mahan recorded 12 kills and seven digs, while Jeff Jendryk added 10 kills for Loyola.
- Avery Aylsworth totaled 11 digs and Kyler Kotsakis pitched in eight kills, six digs and two aces in his first career start.
- Blake Reardon and Matt Szews posted 11 kills apiece for Ball State.
Loyola loses just two players from this season's team that finished 16-12 and will welcome back five starters, plus libero Avery Aylsworth.