Sept. 15, 2012
CHICAGO - Anna Eytchison ripped a match-high 22 kills, tournament MVP Kathleen Vogel added 17 and Laura Purcell finished with 14 as Loyola earned the Rambler Challenge title with a 3-1 (25-15, 19-25, 25-23, 25-19) win over DePaul tonight at Gentile Arena. The Ramblers move to 8-5 on the season after a perfect weekend while the Blue Demons fall to 5-7 with the loss.
Loyola got off to a flying start, taking a 5-2 lead after two Purcell kills and a block from her and Libby Bresser. Eytchison had a pair of kills later and Nichole Riedel and Brittany Brown capped off a 6-0 run with back-to-back blocks that gave the Ramblers a 14-6 advantage. DePaul got as close as six (19-13) but Vogel hammered down a pair of kills that made it 24-14 and Eytchison's sixth kill of the set two points later closed out an impressive 25-15 win for the home side. The Ramblers hit a sizzling .467 (17-3-30) for the set and held its neighbors to the south to an .091 efficiency.
DePaul regrouped and turned the tables on Loyola early in the second set, jumping out to an 8-2 lead. Two Vogel kills and a Vicki Wrobel ace pulled the Ramblers within a pair (9-7) before the Blue Demons opened it back up, grabbing a 16-9 advantage on a LU error. The Ramblers responded by rattling off the next five points to get themselves back in the set but DePaul was able to stem the tide and claim a 25-19 win that evened the match heading to intermission. Loyola held DePaul to just eight kills in the frame but 12 Rambler hitting errors led to an .023 hitting percentage for the home team for the set.
The visitors jumped out to an early 8-5 lead in the pivotal third set before Loyola responded. A triple block from Eytchison, Riedel and Brown followed a Vogel kill and gave LU a 10-9 lead and the teams went back and forth through the middle portion of the set. Two Purcell kills helped the Ramblers edge out to a 16-13 lead and they showed the poise of a veteran team to maintain, earning three sets points with a 24-21 lead. DePaul was able to erase the first two chances but Vogel was able to close it out on the third try to give the LU a 2-1 lead in the match.
Back-to-back Eytchison kills gave Loyola an early 8-5 lead in the fourth set and a Purcell kill later extended the margin to four, 12-8, midway through the set. Four straight Blue Demons points forged a 12-12 tie but the Ramblers took over shortly thereafter, using a pair of Eytchison kills and a Stephanie Kinane ace to take a 19-13 advantage. Sensing the finish line, Loyola finished strong, not letting the visitors closer than five points down the stretch with Purcell ripping her 14th kill to seal the win.
Loyola hit a solid .253 for the match and were paced by Eytchison, who racked up her first double-double of the season with 22 kills and 13 digs. Vogel finished with 17 kills and eight digs while Purcell added 14 kills (14-4-31, .323) and three blocks. Brown dished out 57 assists and recorded 11 digs and Kinane, who was also named to the all-tournament team, was rock solid in the back, racking up a match-high 25 digs.
The Ramblers return to action next Friday when they open Horizon League play at Gentile Arena with a 7 p.m. match against Wright State.