Four Ramblers Earn All-MIVA Honors
Bunting, Smalzer, and Jasaitis named to first team; Berzins voted second team
April 20, 2012
CHICAGO - The Loyola men's volleyball team has placed four student-athletes on the 2012 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association All-Conference teams, as the league announced its selections as voted on by conference coaches, this afternoon. Senior Mike Bunting and redshirt sophomores Joseph Smalzer and Peter Jasaitis all received first-team accolades, while true sophomore Dainis Berzins was named to the second team.
The first-team honor marks the fourth year in a row Bunting (Wyomissing, Pa./Wyomissing Area) has received all-conference accolades, making him the most decorated player of all 2012 selections. In his final year as a Rambler, Bunting has collected 282 kills with a team-high 3.53 kill-per-set average. As an outside hitter, he finished the regular season ranked sixth in kills per set and seventh in points (4.03). Bunting was recognized for his efforts earning a MIVA Offensive Player of the Week award on March 12. After his four-year career, Bunting ranks fourth all-time on the Loyola career list in kills with 1,314.
Smalzer (Palos Heights, Ill./Marist) was named to the All-MIVA First Team for the second year in a row. From behind the service line, Smalzer led the conference and ranked among the nation's best with 47 aces on the season for a 0.52 average. He also finished third in the conference with 4.35 points per set and seventh with 3.52 kills per set. The opposite hitter also leads the team with 320 kills, including 26 in a career performance against Lewis on March 27. His dominating performances throughout the season led to being named MIVA Offensive Player of the Week on March 26 and National Player of the Week on March 27.
After taking over as the starting libero this season, Jasaitis earns postseason accolades for the first time in his career. He finished the regular season with a 2.72 digs-per-set average that led the conference players and placed him second in the nation. The sophomore collected 245 digs on the season all while triggering a .967 reception percentage. Throughout the year, he tallied double-digit digs 11 times and led the team on defense in 17 matches. For his efforts, Jasaitis was twice named MIVA Defensive Player of the Week (Feb. 6 and March 12).
Berzins rounded out the postseason accolades with an All-Conference second team award. He proved to be a crucial member of the team collecting a total of 160 kills and 105 digs in the regular season. Recently hitting his stride, Berzins is peaking at the perfect time for the tournament. Last week against IPFW, the outside hitter notched his first double-double of the season with 15 kills and 12 digs. Berzins was also named Co-Offensive Player of the Week on March 19.
As the No. 3 seed in the 2012 MIVA Tournament, Loyola will host the No. 6 seed IPFW in the quarterfinal round tonight. First serve is set for 7:00 p.m. CST in Gentile Arena.