April 6, 2013
No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes (17-6, 7-4 MIVA) at No. 13 Loyola (17-8, 8-3)
Saturday, April 6 4 p.m.
Chicago, Ill. Gentile Arena
Loyola's run of seven consecutive wins is its longest streak since a seven-game run in Feb., 2011. The Ramblers have not won as many as eight in succession since opening the 2010 campaign by winning their first 12 matches
In fact, Loyola has not lost since dropping a five-set decision at Ohio State back on March 1
The Ramblers have secured at least a home quarterfinal match in the upcoming MIVA Tournament and enter today's match in second place, 1.5 games behind first-place Lewis
Freshman outside Thomas Jaeschke has continued to perform at a high level. The Wheaton, Ill. native is the reigning MIVA Offensive Player of the Week
Head Coach Shane Davis
Just the third coach in program history, Shane Davis has established his alma mater as one of the premier programs in the country. In his 10th season at the helm and already the winningest coach in program history, Davis reached a personal milestone last month, recording his 200th career win on March 22 against Quincy. An All-American setter and a 2003 graduate of Loyola, Davis is a three-time MIVA Coach of the Year (2005, 2006, 2010) and brings a career record of 203-82 (.712) into play this week but he is just 6-18 (.250) all-time against the Buckeyes.
The Week That Was
Loyola ran its winning streak to seven matches with a pair of home sweeps last week against Grand Canyon. While keeping itself in the hunt for the MIVA regular season title, the two wins also helped the Ramblers secure a home quarterfinal match in the upcoming conference tournament. Thomas Jaeschke led the way, hammering down 25 kills in the two matches, as Loyola improved to 12-0 all-time against the Antelopes
Led by junior Joe Smalzer, Loyola has been terrific from the service line this year. The Ramblers have served up a MIVA-best 1.51 aces per set this season, a figured that also places LU third in the national rankings, and Smalzer has been the catalyst. Already Loyola's single-season and career leader in aces, the Palos Heights native has rocketed 54 aces so far this season and his 0.61 aces per set is tops in the country.
Not Your Average Joe
Junior Joe Smalzer has done a little bit of everything this season, stepping up as the leader of this year's team. In addition to leading the team and ranking second in the MIVA in kills (326, 3.70 kps), Smalzer also contributes at the service line (NCAA-best 0.61 aces per set, Loyola's career leader with 149 aces) and has put up solid numbers, defensively, both in the back row (1.59 digs per set) and at the net (0.63 blocks per set). As mentioned earlier, he is already Loyola's career leader in aces and he reached the 1,000-career kill plateau last week against Grand Canyon
No Doubting This Thomas
One of the many bright spots for Loyola this season has been the play of freshman outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke. A stalwart in the LU lineup from the opening match, Jaeschke has given the Ramblers consistency and production on the outside. Jaeschke enters play today second on the team and seventh in the MIVA in kills (272, 3.28 kps) and he has been even better in conference play, ripping 151 kills (3.78 kps) at a .393 clip in 11 MIVA contests. He drilled 25 kills last week in Loyola's two wins over Grand Canyon and is the reigning MIVA Offensive Player of the Week, the second time this season he has earned that honor. He tied his season high with 19 kills (19-1-42, .429) in Loyola's five-set loss at Ohio State
More From The Middles
One of the keys to Loyola's seven-match winning streak has been an increase in production through the middle. Freshman Nick Olson has been particularly impressive, pounding out 1.84 kills per set while hitting a sizzling .500 (46-9-74) during the streak while senior Eric Daleige has provided the defense, stoning 36 opposition attacks for 1.44 blocks per set