Reigning Offensive Player of the Week Dainis Berzins will be a key contributor to tonight's offensive attack.
 
Reigning Offensive Player of the Week Dainis Berzins will be a key contributor to tonight's offensive attack.
 
 
No. 13 Men's Volleyball Bound For Semifinal Battle

April 25, 2012

CHICAGO -

Lewis Flyers
April 25, 2012
7:00 p.m. CST
Romeoville, Ill.

Game Notes - MIVA Semifinals

Last Time Out...
Three Ramblers scooped up double-digit kills en route to a 3-1 victory over the Mastodons in the MIVA quarterfinal matchup. After falling in the first set, Loyola came back to win the next three and take the contest by scores of 21-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-19. Mike Bunting and Dainis Berzins led the Ramblers with 18 and 17 kills, respectively, while Joe Smalzer was the third Rambler to collect double-digit kills with 14. Matt Mirick dished out 39 assists while Peter Jasaitis held as anchor for the defense with 14 digs on the night.

Season At A Glance...
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 seven newcomers, including Volleyball Magazine's High School Player of the Year Cody Caldwell (Newport Beach, Calif.) The Ramblers wrapped up the regular season with an 18-11 overall record and an 8-4 conference record, to clinch third place in the MIVA final standings and now look forward to the tournament in hopes of earning program's first-ever NCAA appearance.

Lewis Scouting Report...
Lewis is the team to beat in the MIVA conference after playing strong to finish 23-6 overall and 9-3 in conference and being featured regularly among the top 10 of the AVCA poll in recent weeks (currently sits at No. 7). Head Coach Dan Friend returns six of last year's seven starters. Four players on this season's squad were recently named to the 2012 MIVA All-Conference including BJ Boldog, Aaron Flick, Jay Petty who were all voted First Team and Matt Gallik who earned a spot on the Second Team. The Flyers turned in a dominating performance in the quarterfinals, sweeping Quincy in straight sets to advance.

Series History...
The Ramblers remain as the leader in the all-time series (21-18) after splitting the regular-season duel against the Flyers. Friday's match will mark the seventh time the two teams will face each other in a postseason scenario and will serve as the tiebreaker as Loyola and Lewis are tied with three wins apiece.

Postseason Accolades...
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. 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. Loyola was one of three squads, alongside Lewis and Ohio State, to place a total of four players on an all-conference team - more than the rest of the league.

MIVA POW-er Players...
After a successful outing against IPFW in the quarterfinals this past weekend Loyola swepts the awards for the second time this season. Dainis Berzins was named Offensive Player of the Week after continuing his recent hot streak and blasting 17 kills help lead the team to victory over the No. 6 seeded Mastodons. Berzins finished the match with a team-high .303 hitting percentage (17-7-33) and 4.63 points per set. Peter Jasaitis picked up his third Defensive Player of the Week award as Loyola's libero. He gathered 14 digs to lead the Ramblers on defense for the 18th time this season, helping limit IPFW to a .128 hitting percentage on the night.

Breakthrough Berzins...
With the tournament in full swing, sophomore Dainis Berzins is peaking at the perfect time. In the past few weeks, the outside hitter has led Loyola's offense against both Lindenwood and IPFW with 13 and 15 kills, respectively, while hitting over .500 in both contests. Berzins also tallied 12 digs on April 14 to notch his first double-double of the season. In last Friday's quarterfinals, Berzins collected 17 kills and a team-high .303 rate of success.

Aces Wild...
As a whole, the Ramblers have collected 137 service aces and closed out the regular season ranked first in the conference (two aces have been in postseason play). Joe Smalzer, who surpassed his impressive 47-ace total from 2011, with an ace in the quarterfinals, leads the team by far and also holds the top spot among the conference with a 0.52 per-set average. Trailing Smalzer is Mike Bunting with 21. Cody Caldwell adds 19 to the collective, while Dainis Berzins and Matt Mirick own 15 and 11, respectively.

Loyola has notched a service ace in all but two matches this season and has tallied four or more in 15 matches. The team strung together a season-high 11 aces against Lindenwood and neared that mark in the regular-season finale with another strong performance of 10 aces against IPFW.

Anchoring the Backline...
On defense, libero Peter Jasaitis has totaled 259 digs so far this year, placing him fifth among the program's season record list. To close out the regular season, Jasaitis dominated the conference with a 2.72 digs-per-set average and, as of April 23, ranks second in the nation with the same statistic.

History In The Making...
Adding this season's 300 kill total to his previous three years at Loyola, senior Mike Bunting has tallied 1,332 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 (1996-2000).

Block Party...
Junior Eric Daliege has been a combative force for the Ramblers at the net. Boasting nine solo and 89 assisted blocks, the middle hitter reigns as the team-leader in the category with the nearest teammate trailing with 50 blocks (Joseph Smalzer). Earlier this season, Daliege established a new career-best of nine blocks against IPFW (Feb. 24) and recently tied that mark at Grand Canyon on March 23. Headed into the week, Daliege is averaging 0.99 blocks 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. Mirick broke the 1,000 mark with a 38-assist performance at home against Lindenwood. All together, Mirick has dished out 1,061 assists to his hitters, averaging 10.94 assists per set and already ranks sixth Loyola's all-time career record list.

Among The Best...
Throughout the regular season, many of the Ramblers established themselves as some of the best in both the conference and the nation. Mike Bunting and Joe Smalzer have led the Rambler offense all season, culminating to sit fifth and sixth in the conference with 3.57 kps and 3.52 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 0.51 service aces per game. Setter Matt Mirick ended the regular season ranked first among MIVA student-athletes and fourth nationwide with a 10.94 assists average.