No. 14 Men's Volleyball Advances To Semifinals With 3-1 Victory

Dainis Berzins continued his heat streak, hitting .303 on the night with 17 kills to help the Ramblers in the quarterfinal win over IPFW.

Dainis Berzins continued his heat streak, hitting .303 on the night with 17 kills to help the Ramblers in the quarterfinal win over IPFW.

April 20, 2012

Final Stats

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CHICAGO - Three Ramblers scooped up double-digit kills en route to a 3-1 victory over the Mastodons tonight in Gentile Arena. After falling in the first set, Loyola came back to win the next three and take the match by scores of 21-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-19.

Early on it was evident IPFW came up to play, jumping to a 5-1 lead. Loyola slowly crept back to a 12-12 tie and the two teams traded points until IPFW took advantage of Rambler errors to break away (17-19). With the help of a heavy block at 19-22, the Mastodons tallied the next three points to place them close to the win. After a kill by Dainis Berzins and a block from Mike Bunting and Steve Thompson stalled the end, Eddie Rivera put away the win.

The second set showed a tighter beginning as the teams stayed close until a bullet from Eric Daliege gave the Ramblers a three-point advantage at 10-7. Back-to-back kills by Berzins extended the lead to four (13-9) and a six-point run, paced by the serve of Joseph Smalzer, catapulted the Ramblers to 21-15. Another string of errors allowed IPFW to creep back in until Berzins notched the kill to call for set point followed with the finale, ending the second 25-21.

With the score tied at six in the third set, Daliege combined with Matt Mirick for a block that kick-started a breakaway. Berzins and Bunting followed with kills and a service ace from Danny Podkowa set the score at 9-6. Podkowa and Smalzer tallied consecutive kills at 17-12. IPFW used its blocking game, much at the hands of Ramon Burgos and Elon Fyfield, to bring back the tie (20-20). Bunting sandwiched a pair of kills around that of IPFW's Corey Frain to close the set, 25-22.

Loyola shot to a 9-3 lead in the fourth and final set, triggering a timeout from the Mastodon bench. A kill from Fyfield brought the score within three at 12-9 but that is all the Ramblers would allow as they held at least a four-point lead for the remainder of the match. A Bunting kill pushed the score to 17-11 and a bullet from Berzins widened the gap at 22-15. Once again, the Mastodons were able to fight off a set point, but Omar Rivera committed a heartbreaking service error to give the Ramblers the win.

Bunting and Berzins led the Ramblers with 18 and 17 kills, respectively, while Smalzer was the third Rambler to collect double-digit kills with 14. Mirick dished out 39 assists while Jasaitis held as anchor for the defense with 14 digs on the night. The Mastodons put up a fight at the net, collecting 17 team blocks to the Ramblers' nine.

"We knew it was going to be a dogfight going in," said head coach Shane Davis. "You are hardly ever going to beat IPFW in three. They are going to find a way to win. They are going to keep grinding it out and that is what they did here tonight. They are just a great team to play and a fun team to play."

With the win, No. 3 seed Loyola advances to the semifinals of the MIVA tournament next Wednesday where it will face No. 2 seed Lewis. The match will take place in Romeoville, Ill. and is set for 7:00 p.m. CST.