Jan. 30, 2013
CHICAGO – Loyola University Chicago men’s volleyball returns to the East Coast this weekend, playing in the Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic, Feb. 1-2. With only two games left before conference play begins, the Ramblers look to improve their 5-5 overall record, as they take on Harvard on Friday, Feb. 1 before facing Springfield College or Juniata on Saturday, Feb. 2. First serve on Friday is at 5 p.m. CST.
SCOUTING THE CRIMSON
- Harvard carries a 3-1 overall record with its only loss this season coming to No. 6 Penn State in five sets (23-25, 25-20, 14-25, 25-16, 15-6). Outside hitters Branden Clemens (2.15 kills/set) and Nick Madden (2.50 kills/set) lead the attack and are assisted by Rob Lothman at setter. Kyle Rehkemper and Caleb Zimmick anchor the Crimson at the net, collecting 35 total blocks. The Ramblers took a 3-1 advantage in their only meeting with Harvard in 2004.
SCOUTING THE PRIDE
- After winning the 2012 NCAA Division III Championship, the Eagles are 4-1 overall. Springfield College hosts for the first time this season, playing Juniata in its home opener on Feb. 1. Mike Pelletier has tallied 45 kills (2.81/set) and is joined by Jimmy O’Leary with 24 total blocks (1.50/set). As a team, Springfield College has tallied 12.5 kills per set for a .371 hitting percentage, winning its last three matches. The Ramblers have met Springfield College twice, winning both games. The teams last met in 2004 when Loyola took the match, 3-1.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES
- Juniata remains undefeated, collecting a 4-0 overall record after opening the season on Jan. 19. Alex McColgin paces the Eagles with 2.75 kills per set and 3.4 points per set. Freshman Derrick Burgess has tallied 15 total blocks (1.25 blocks/set) as Juniata averages 2.97 blocks per set, holding its opponents to a .116 hitting percentage overall. Loyola holds a 5-0 record in its series against Juniata, sweeping the Eagles in their last meeting in 2011.
- In addition to leading Loyola’s attack, Joseph Smalzer has made an impact on defense, leading the team in digs against George Mason (1/25) and NJIT (1/26). Smalzer has averaged 1.44 digs per set and is second on the team this season with 46 digs.
- Freshman Trevor Novotny helped fuel Loyola’s 3-0 sweep against NJIT on Jan. 26, igniting the Ramblers in a set three charge. Novotny earned three service aces in the final frame, closing the match with six kills and a .364 hitting percentage.
THE STEEL CURTAIN
- Redshirt senior Eric Daliege and true freshman Nicholas Olson lead the Ramblers at the net this season, collectively earning 58 total blocks. Olson posted a career-high six total blocks against George Mason (1/19), and paces the team with 1.17 blocks pet set. Daliege has notched a team-high six solo blocks and 25 block assists, accumulating 1.07 blocks per set. Recently, the two middle blockers helped the Ramblers hold NJIT (1/26) to a .047 hitting percentage, the lowest they have held an opponent this season.
- Shane Davis carries a 191-80 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.
NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOE
- Joseph Smalzer paces the Ramblers with 126 kills (3.94 kills/set). A 2012 AVCA All-American, the redshirt junior led Loyola to three consecutive victories Jan. 16-19, 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. He also recently moved to third all-time in program history with 112 career service aces and looks to overtake second (133) in the coming weeks.
FEELS LIKE HOME
- The Ramblers have been successful at home, collecting a 219-48 all-time record when hosting. Loyola is 3-1 at Gentile Arena this season, winning consecutive matches at home before falling to George Mason (1/25). The team has a five-game homestand beginning on Feb. 8 when the Ramblers will play five conference matches before heading to Ohio State on March 1.
THOMAS THE TANK
- Freshman Thomas Jaeschke has made an immediate impact on the Ramblers, collecting 79 kills (2.55 kills/set) and 16 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.