Sept. 21, 2012
CHICAGO - Senior Anna Eytchison pounded out a career-high 28 kills and Loyola shook off a slow start to knock off Wright State 3-1 (18-25, 25-9, 25-21, 25-14) tonight in the Horizon League opener for both teams at Gentile Arena. Loyola moves to 9-5 (1-0) while Wright State slumps to 2-16 (0-1) with the loss.
"It was not the prettiest volleyball tonight but it is nice to start conference play with a win," said head coach Chris Muscat. "We have a lot of things to work on and improve on but we will get there."
Loyola got off to a slow start, falling behind 6-2 in the opening set on a Marisa Aiello kill. A Laura Purcell kill helped the Ramblers stay within four but they struggled to string points together and the visitors racked up a handful of set points, taking a 24-16 lead on an Anna Norman kill. Purcell had a kill and a block to help LU stave off two set points before a WSU block closed out a 25-18 win. Loyola hit just .154 in the frame while Wright State was efficient, hitting .233 with just four errors.
The little momentum that Loyola picked up towards the end of the first set carried over into the second and Kathleen Vogel opened the frame with consecutive aces. After a service error gave Wright State its first point at 3-1, Stephanie Kinane served up eight straight points as the Ramblers took a commanding 12-1 lead. Eytchison had three kills and teamed with Nichole Riedel for two blocks in the spurt. The hosts kept their foot on the gas, taking an 18-5 lead on a Libby Bresser kill, and Vogel eventually closed out a 25-9 win with her fourth kill of the set. The Ramblers rebounded to hit .483 (16-2-29) in the set with Eytchison hammering down seven of those 16 kills.
The teams traded points to 5-all in the third set before Loyola gained some breathing room. Two Vicki Wrobel aces helped the Ramblers rattle off five straight points to open a lead and they extended it to eight (16-8) after consecutive Eytchison kills. Wright State made a bit of a run, closing to within four (19-15) on a Dani Branco kill, but another Wrobel ace helped LU build the lead back to six (22-16) and Eytchison's 10th kill of the set wrapped up a 25-21 win to give Loyola a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set took on a similar pattern, as the teams were tied at 6-6 until the Ramblers took control. A solo block by Riedel after a long rally gave LU the lead and the junior middle served up the next five points to help Loyola extend to a 12-6 lead. The teams traded points through the middle stages of the set before the Ramblers put it away. Two kills from Eytchison and single kills from Purcell and Vogel made it a 20-12 game and Kristen Haggenjos was able to secure the last three points from the service line, with Riedel and Maureen Carls teaming up for a block on match point to close out the win.
After the opening set hiccup, Loyola hit .361 over the final three sets. Eytchison was terrific, hammering her 28 kills at a .510 efficiency (28-3-49), to lead the way. Vogel notched her first career double-double with 13 kills and 12 digs while Purcell also reached double figures, finishing with 12 kills.
Loyola wraps up the weekend with a 4 p.m. home match tomorrow against Valparaiso.