Jan. 24, 2013
CHICAGO – Loyola University Chicago returns to Gentile Arena this weekend, hosting George Mason and NJIT. The Ramblers take on the Patriots for a second time this season on Friday, Jan. 25, before hosting NJIT on Saturday, Jan. 26. Both matches are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
SCOUTING THE PATRIOTS
Six days after defeating George Mason, 3-0 (25-21, 28-26, 25-23), Loyola plays the Patriots for a second time this season. Andrew Dentler leads George Mason with 3.83 kills per set and is joined by fellow outside hitter Michael Kvidahl who averages 3.15 kills per set. The Patriots are strong at the net as Piotr Dabrowski (1.77 blocks/set) and Shaun Sibley (1.27 blocks/set) anchor their team at the middle blocker positions. The Ramblers improved to 13-3 in their series with George Mason, holding the Patriots to a .111 hitting percentage on Saturday, Jan. 19. Loyola is 8-1 against George Mason when hosting, falling at home in 2008, 3-0.
SCOUTING THE HIGHLANDERS
NJIT earned its first win this season, defeating IPFW, 3-2, on Jan. 19. The Highlanders improved to 1-2 overall and face Lewis on Friday, Jan. 25, before playing Loyola in Gentile Arena. Reigning EIVA Defensive Player of the Week, Brady Smith, leads the Highlander defense with 3.38 digs per set, while Doug Battersby boasts 1.54 blocks per set. Kajetan Borecki and Chris Kaepernick pace the attack, collecting 2.58 kills per set and 2.23 kills per set, respectively. Loyola has not lost a match to NJIT since the series began in 1996. After defeating the Highlanders, 3-1 (25-15, 26-28, 25-17, 25-19) last season, the Ramblers improved their series record to 8-0.
Joseph Smalzer moved to fourth all-time in program history after collecting seven aces in a three-match span (Jan. 16-19) to bring his career total to 105 service aces. The opposite hitter looks to take over third all-time (109) this weekend as he earned two service aces against Penn State (Jan. 22) to bring his career total to 107.
ON THE ATTACK
The Ramblers lead the MIVA with a .289 hitting percentage this season. Ohio State trails in second (.280) and IPFW in third (.276). Smalzer paces the Ramblers with 89 kills and is joined by freshman Thomas Jaeschke who has collected 60 kills.
FEELS LIKE HOME
The Ramblers have been successful at home, collecting a 218-47 all-time record when hosting. After starting the 2013 campaign 0-3, Loyola was able to bounce back, winning consecutive games at Gentile Arena to earn a 2-3 overall record heading into a trip to the East Coast. The team has a five-game home stand beginning on Feb. 8 when the Ramblers will play five conference matches before heading to Ohio State on March 1.
THE STEEL CURTAIN
Redshirt senior Eric Daliege and true freshman Nicholas Olson lead the Ramblers at the net this season, collectively earning 42 total blocks. Olson posted a career-high six total blocks against George Mason (1/19), and is second with 1.06 blocks per set. Daliege paces the Ramblers with four solo blocks and 20 block assists, and leads the Ramblers with 1.09 blocks per set.
NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOE
Joseph Smalzer paces the Ramblers with 89 kills (3.56 kills/set) and 107.5 points in the 2013 season. A 2012 AVCA All-American, the redshirt junior led Loyola to three victories last week, posting 4.11 kills per set and seven service aces. Smalzer was recognized for his efforts, being named MIVA Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, Jan. 21.
Shane Davis carries a 190-79 overall record in his tenth season as head coach of Loyola, making him the winningest coach in program history. With three MIVA Coach of the Year awards (2005, 2006, 2010), two regular-season championships (2005, 2006) and six 20-win seasons, Davis looks for his 200th win during the 2013 campaign.
THOMAS THE TANK
Freshman Thomas Jaeschke has made an immediate impact on the Ramblers, collecting 60 kills (2.50 kills/set) and 13 total blocks. A Wheaton, Ill. native, Jaeschke was a key player for Loyola during the ASICS Invitational, notching a match-high 12 kills against UC Santa Barbara (1/4) and leading the Ramblers on a set two charge to help the team to a 25-17 win over Cal Baptist in the first set win of the year.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
The Ramblers welcome six newcomers to the 2013 squad. Freshmen Nicholas Olson, Peter Hutz and Trevor Novotny hail from Wisconsin, playing together on the West Allis Lightning club team and winning the 2010 and 2012 USAV Junior National Championships. Also joining the team is the 2012 Ohio Volleyball Player of the Year, Owen McAndrews, 2012 Chicago Player of the Year, Thomas Jaeschke, and a member of the 2008-10 Puerto Rico National Team, Diego Rodriguez.
League coaches voted Loyola second in the MIVA Preseason Rankings. The Ramblers received 54 points and one first place vote for the 2013 season. Lewis was voted to finish first while Ohio State was third.
Juniors Dainis Berzins, Joseph Smalzer and Peter Jasaitis were named to the MIVA Preseason All-Conference Team with Jasaitis being named the Libero of the Year. It is the second time Smalzer has been recognized with MIVA Preseason honors and a first for Berzins and Jasaitis.
RAISING THE BAR
The Ramblers had five newcomers recognized to Volleyball Magazine’s 2012 Fab 50 Recruits. Freshmen Trevor Novotny, Nicholas Olson, Peter Hutz, Owen McAndrews and Thomas Jaeschke were all tabbed as top incoming collegiate players. USC and UCLA were the only schools with more than five selections.
THE NEW BERLIN WALL
New Berlin, Wis. native Nicholas Olson joins the Ramblers after playing with the U.S. Junior National Team in August, when he helped the United States to first place in the North, Central American and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) Men’s Junior Continental Championship. Olson ranked among the top 20 best scorers in the tournament, taking fifth in the Best Blockers category.
FORESEEN AND FORETOLD
Two players earned preseason recognition as Joseph Smalzer and Peter Jasaitis were named 2013 Off the Block Preseason All-Americans. Smalzer was selected a Preseason First-Team All-American leading the MIVA and ranking sixth in the nation with a 0.49 aces per game average last season. Jasaitis earned second-team honors, leading the MIVA and ranking second in the nation with a 2.73 digs per game average.
TALK OF THE NATION
For a second consecutive season, Loyola was ranked No. 10 in the AVCA Division I-II Preseason Coaches Poll. The Ramblers are one of three MIVA teams to debut in the preseason rankings. Lewis was tabbed No. 5 and Ohio State No. 11.
Loyola took its talents off the court, raising money for “Movember,” a month-long event that raises awareness for men’s health. By sporting moustaches throughout November, the Ramblers were able to draw attention to men’s health, raising $8,843 to rank in the top 250 teams nationwide.