Loyola Takes On Lewis For MIVA Title

loycMUSTANGS.COM
loycMUSTANGS.COM

loycMUSTANGS.COM

April 26, 2013

Loyola (21-9) at Lewis Flyers (20-9)
Saturday, April 27 • 7 p.m.
Romeoville, Ill. • Neil Carey Arena

Loyola Match Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Ramblings
• Despite earning a share of the regular-season MIVA title, Loyola had to settle for the No. 2 seed in the tournament by virtue of total points scored in its head-to-head matches with Lewis (third tiebreaker)
• Loyola has been playing its best volleyball of the season over the last two months and enters tonight's match winners of 11 of its last 12 matches
• This is Loyola's eighth all-time appearance in the MIVA Tournament championship with the Ramblers still looking for their elusive first crown
• Tonight is also the rubber match for the season series with Lewis. The Ramblers dropped a 3-1 decision in Rogers Park on Feb. 16 before bouncing back to claim a four-set win here on March 13
• Joe Smalzer, who has already collected MIVA Player of the Year and Off The Block/Springbak, Inc. National Server of the Year awards this season, garnered AVCA Second Team All-America status for the second straight year when the organization announced its awards on Thursday

Loyola/Lewis - The Series
Tonight is the 43rd meeting between the two schools with Loyola holding a 25-17 lead in an all-time series that has seen four of Loyola's wins come about due to Lewis vacating wins in the early 2000s (2001-03). Tonight marks their seventh postseason meeting with Loyola going 3-3 (.500) in those matchups. Lewis knocked the Ramblers out in the semifinals last season and LU's last postseason win over the Flyers was a 3-0 sweep in 2010. This is the third time they have met in the finals (1998, 2003) with Lewis winning both times, although the 2003 title was later vacated

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 207-83 (.714) into tonight's match. He is 15-7 (.682) in his career against Lewis and sports a 13-9 (.591) record in the MIVA Tournament

Not So Terrible Twos
Although Loyola had to settle for the No. 2 seed by virtue of the third tiebreaker (total points in their two regular season matches against Lewis), historically the second seed has had success in the MIVA Tournament, going 34-8 (.810) all-time in tournament play. In fact, the No. 2 seed has won six of the last 14 championships, including Lewis' win last year. This is the fifth time that the Ramblers have earned the No. 2 seed and they have advanced to the championship match each time, most recently in 2011

The Present And The Future
The combination of Joe Smalzer and Thomas Jaeschke is one of the most lethal in the MIVA. Both were recognized for their terrific seasons, as Smalzer was named MIVA Player of the Year and Jaeschke MIVA Freshman of the Year as the conference announced its postseason awards. Smalzer is the third Ramblers to earn the MIVA's top honor (last, Chris Kozlarek in 2006) while Jaeschke becomes the fifth LU player to walk away with the rookie award (last, Smalzer in 2011). In addition, their appearance on the All-MIVA First Team marks the fourth consecutive season that the Ramblers have played at least two players on the first team

Eighth Time's The Charm?
While Loyola has been one of the MIVA's most successful programs year in and year out, the Ramblers have never been able to make that breakthrough in the MIVA Tournament. Tonight is Loyola's eighth appearance in the championship match - and third in the last four seasons - with the Ramblers still searching for their first title

Aces Wild
Led by Joe Smalzer, Loyola has been terrific from the service line this year. The Ramblers have served up a MIVA-best 1.62 aces per set this season, a figure that also places LU second 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 72 aces so far this season and his 0.69 aces per set is tops in the country. Over the last six matches, Loyola has ripped 49 aces while allowing its opponents only 15 freebies. Interestingly, Loyola had just eight aces in the two regular-season matches against Lewis while the Flyers served up 14 of their own