Sept. 22, 2012
CHICAGO - Visiting Valparaiso used a big comeback to claim the pivotal third set and managed to hold off Loyola in the fourth to take a 3-1 (26-24, 29-31, 25-22, 25-21) in a hotly contested match this afternoon at Gentile Arena. The Ramblers (9-6, 1-1 Horizon) were denied their first 2-0 League start since 2005 while Valpo earns a weekend split and moves to 9-7 (1-1).
Much like last night, Loyola got off to a sluggish start in the opening set. Valpo raced out to a 6-1 after a block and extended the advantage to 14-6 on a service ace before the Ramblers found their rhythm. An Anna Eytchison kill made it a 16-9 game and Brittany Brown served served up five straight points to draw LU within two, 16-14. Loyola kept pushing and eventually took its first lead, 18-17, on a VU error. The Crusaders strung together three straight points to grab a 23-20 lead but Loyola fought back as Kathleen Vogel had a kill and an ace in a 4-0 run that gave the Ramblers a set point at 24-23. However, a block error helped Valpo stay alive and two Loyola errors gave the visitors a 26-24 win.
The second set was tight throughout with neither team able to gain any breathing room. A Vicki Wrobel ace gave Loyola a 10-8 lead and a kill and ace later from Vogel gave the Ramblers a 21-17 lead, the largest by either team. Valpo roared back, scoring the next four points to move into a 21-21 tie, and the Crusaders had the first crack at the set, taking a 24-23 lead after a block. An Eytchison kill kept Loyola alive and a Nichole Riedel kill and a Valpo error gave LU its first chance at 26-25. Valpo scored the next two points as the set moved deep into extra points and the Crusaders had another chance at 29-28 after a Loyola error. A Libby Bresser kill tied the set for the 21st and final time as a Bresser/Brittany Brown block and Crusader hitting error sent the teams to intermission tied at 1-1 after a 31-29 LU win.
The pivotal third set was close through the early stages before Loyola took control. A Stephanie Kinane ace and three Vogel kills helped the Ramblers open up a 14-10 lead and the margin grew to six (17-11) on another Vogel ace. Loyola was still in the driver's seat later as a Bresser kill gave the home team a 20-15 lead but Valpo regrouped and roared back, scoring the next six to take the lead and eventually closing the set on a 10-2 run to steal a 25-22 lead and take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Valpo carried the momentum into the fourth set, taking a 12-6 lead on a Sarah Dooms ace and a 17-10 advantage on a Rambler error. A Brown kill helped Loyola claw its way back and the Ramblers scored eight of the next 11 points to get within two, 20-18. The teams traded points to 22-19 but Loyola would get no closer with Morgan Biel's 18th kill of the match giving the visitors the win.
Vogel led a balanced Loyola offense with 16 kills and added nine digs and three aces. Purcell chipped in with 14 kills and four blocks and Eytchison racked up her second double-double of the season with 13 kills and 11 digs. Kinane was terrific again in the back row, digging a match-high 24 balls.
Loyola hits the road and heads to Northeast Ohio next weekend for a pair of matches starting with a Friday night (Sept. 28) match at Cleveland State. First serve is set at 6 p.m. CT.