Sept. 1, 2012
Terre Haute, Ind. - With just an hour in between matches, Loyola got off to a slow start and never recovered, dropping a 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-22) match to Western Illinois this afternoon at the Jessica Barkman Memorial classic this afternoon in Terre Haute, Ind. The Ramblers (5-1) see their season-opening, five-match winning streak come to a close while the Leathernecks improve to 2-3 with the win.
"While it is definitely a challenge to play back-to-back matches, it proved to be a good test for this group," said head coach Chris Muscat. "Our first match today taught us how to grind through a match when things do not always go our way and this afternoon we were unable to re-engage as quickly as we needed to."
After a tough, four-set win earlier this afternoon, Loyola struggled to find its rhythm against Western Illinois. The Leathernecks used four Loyola hitting errors to race out to a 9-3 lead and it was 13-4 after a Katie Hosteng block. Loyola tried to cut into the deficit, pulling within seven on an Anna Eytchison kill and six (21-15) later on a Nichole Riedel kill but the Ramblers would get no closer, dropping the opening set for the first time this season.
More erratic hitting contributed to Loyola finding itself in a 12-6 hole early in the second set. Kills from Riedel and Kathleen Vogel highlighted a 4-0 LU run that got the Ramblers right back in the set but Western kept pushing and bumped the lead back to six (17-11) on a Samantha Fournier kill. A block from Riedel and Brittany Brown brought LU within a pair (19-17) but the Ramblers could not get over the hump and two hitting errors wrapped up WIU's 25-21 win.
Consecutive errors pushed the Leathernecks out to an 8-4 lead early in the third set before Loyola roared back, ripping off six straight points to turn a 10-5 deficit into an 11-10 lead. An Eytchison kill later made it a 16-13 lead and it appeared as if Loyola would be able to extend the match. However, three straight WIU points forged an 18-18 deadlock and the Leathernecks were able to win the key points down the stretch, closing out the match with a 25-22 win.
"I thought we worked hard the whole match," continued Muscat. "This result is not a negative for this group. It is part of the process that every young team goes through. We will be much better the next time we are in this type of situation."
After hitting no lower than .203 in any of its previous five matches, Loyola struggled to find the court, counteracting its 30 kills with a season-high 30 errors for a .000 hitting percentage. The duo of Eytchison and Laura Purcell, who entered the match contributing a combined 8.50 kills per set, were held to a combined 13 kills.
Eytchison led the way with 10 kills while Libby Bresser pitching in with six kills and four blocks (three solo). Stephanie Kinane had a terrific match in the back row, racking up a season-high 23 digs.
Loyola wraps up tournament play tomorrow morning with a 10 a.m. match against SIU Edwardsville.