Loyola Looks To Lancers In Midweek Contest

loycMUSTANGS.COM Head coach Shane Davis and the Ramblers look to improve their winning record against Cal Baptist onWednesday.
loycMUSTANGS.COM
Head coach Shane Davis and the Ramblers look to improve their winning record against Cal Baptist onWednesday.
loycMUSTANGS.COM

March 6, 2012

CHICAGO -

No. 15 Loyola vs. Cal Baptist
March 7, 2012
6:00 p.m. CST
Riverside, Calif.


Last Time Out...
This past weekend, Loyola swept its homestand series against Quincy, winning both matches in straight sets. Cody Caldwell played spectacularly throughout the series, collecting 24 kills, five assists, and two service aces. In Friday’s match, he triggered a career-best .576 hitting percentage, comitting only one error in a team-high 12-kill performance. In his encore on Saturday, Caldwell repeated the previous night‘s 12 kills and hit for a .304 average.

Season At A Glance...
After posting an overall record of 21-8 and finishing second in the conference (9-3) last season, the Loyola Ramblers are poised for another successful season and a strong run for the program’s first-ever NCAA appearance. Head coach Shane Davis returns all but one starter to the 2012 squad, including AVCA All-American Mike Bunting and 2011 MIVA Freshman of the Year Joseph Smalzer. Loyola also returns 11 additional letterwinners and welcomes eight newcomers, including Volleyball Magazine’s High School Player of the Year Cody Caldwell (Newport Beach, Calif.).

Cal Baptist Scouting Report...
Anchored by the balanced trio of Kristopher Johnson, Aaron McCalmont, and Daniel Frietas, the Lancers are off o an 8-14 overall start to the 2012 season. After ending last season as the premeir libero, Frietas has been moved back out to his natural position of outside hitter. McCalmont finished the 2011 season with 146 kills and 42 blocks for the attack and Johnson joins the squad after spending his first two collegiate seasons at Long Beach Community College where he was named two-time All Western State Conference First Team.

Cal Baptist is riding a four-game win streak into the match against the Ramblers, having swept through the Lindenwood Tournament this past weekend to claim the title.

Series History...
Tomorrow’s match against California Baptist will be the eighth overall time the two teams have met on hardwood, but the first time since 2009. Loyola leads the series 5-2 with the last meeting coming on March 6, 2009, where the Lancers walked away with the five-set victory.

Among The Best...
Many of the Ramblers have established themselves as some of the best in both the conference and the nation. Joe Smalzer and Mike Bunting have led the Rambler offense all season, culminating to sit sixth and seventh in the conference with 3.47 kps and 3.38 kps, respectively. Smalzer is also among the best in serving, holding the top spot among the MIVA and the fourth spot among the nation with 0.49 service aces per game. Setter Matt Mirick currently sits second among MIVA student-athletes and eighth nationwide with a 10.68 assists average, while Eric Daliege dominates all conference players with a .465 hitting percentage. On defense, libero Peter Jasaitis has totaled 153 digs so far this year to lead the conference with a 2.68 digs-per-set average, a statistic that also puts him second nationally.

Climbing The Boards...
Adding this season’s 152 kill total to his previous three years at Loyola, senior Mike Bunting has tallied 1,187 kills while wearing a Rambler jersey to place him fourth among Loyola’s career leaderboard. The next step up the ladder is Ted Groves’ third-place record of 1,435 kills, set during his 1996-2000 collegiate career.

Ace of Cakes, Cup Of Joe...
Last year, Joe Smalzer quickly established himself as a monumental threat when it came to the art of serving, notching 47 service aces throughout the season. With a combined total of 73 service aces during his two-year career, Smalzer is only nine aces away from breaking into the career record list by tying Scott Greene’s (2002-2005) record of 81 for the No. 10 spot.

Smalzer has also been an offensive powerhouse for the Ramblers when it comes to the front row attack. Thanks to a six-kill performance against George Mason (2/17), Smalzer has passed the impressive mark of 500 total kills early in his career. So far this season, Smalzer has gathered 184 kills to lead the team on offense, also averaging a team-high 3.47 kills per set.

Set Me Up...
Junior Matt Mirick has taken the place of the graduated Mike Hutz at the starting setter position. A former High School All-American, Mirick competed in 44 sets last season, recording a career-high 24 assists against NJIT on March 19. So far this season, Mirick has dished out 662 assists to his hitters, averaging 10.68 assists per set. Mirick has already more than doubled last season’s personal-best with a 56 assist performance against BYU on Jan. 6. With his total this season, Mirick already ranks sixth Loyola’s all-time career record list.

Senior Recognition...
Loyola will host a Senior Day Ceremony before the match on March 17 against Limestone in Gentile Arena. Head Coach Shane Davis and his staff will recognize six seniors on the Rambler squad that will depart from the program come graduation in May: Tommy Becker, Mike Bunting, Domenic DeWaele, J.J. Pincoski, Brendan Styler, and Steve Thompson.

New To Court...
Despite returning all but one regular starter from last season’s squad, Loyola’s lineup on the court has been predominately fresh-faced. Only three of the usual seven men on the court (libero included) were among last season’s regular starting squad. Junior Matt Mirick has taken over the leadership position at setter, while redshirt sophomore Peter Jasaitis is the new keeper of the backline, taking the libero role. Kyle Nail and Danny Podkowa have so far split duties of middle hitter (opposite Eric Daliege in the rotation) and freshman Cody Caldwell has established himself as a threatening weapon for the Ramblers on the outside.

Fab 50 Freshmen...
It is safe to say that Loyola scored big when it comes to fresh talent this season. In addition to an already strong core of returning players, the Ramblers added seven newcomers to the 2012 roster (two transfers and five true freshmen). All five freshmen, namely Ryan Baine, Cody Caldwell, Robert Chilcoat, Kurtis Mirick, and James Zaluski, were designated to Volleyball Magazine’s ‘Fab 50’ recruits from the 2011 senior class. Loyola was the only school to sign five ‘Fab 50’ players, claiming the second most of any school, trailing Pepperdine and USC who each welcomed seven to their respective squads.