Oct. 6, 2012
CHICAGO - Loyola used a match-high 23 points from Anna Eytchison and three others contributed at least 10 points apiece as the Ramblers erased an 0-2 deficit and escaped with a 3-2 (21-25, 28-30, 25-23, 25-23, 15-10) win over Green Bay this afternoon at Gentile Arena. Loyola improves to 12-6 (5-1 Horizon) while the Phoenix slides back to .500 (9-9, 1-4).
"I am proud of how we hung in there and battled," said head coach Chris Muscat. "We knew this was going to be a tough match, even moreso after a long, emotional match last night."
Loyola got off to a solid start, opening up a 12-7 lead in the opening set on a Kathleen Vogel kill. The Ramblers extended the margin to six (17-11) after a solo block and kill from Eytchison but Green Bay roared back, rattling off six straight points to even the set at 18. The run was just part of a greater, 13-3 Phoenix spurt that closed out the set, as the visitors took the opening frame, 25-21.
The second set followed a similar pattern, as Loyola used two Libby Bresser kills to grab an early 9-3 lead. Green Bay answered with an 11-4 run to take the lead and the teams battled back and forth the rest of the way. A block from Vogel and Nichole Riedel helped the Ramblers move out to a 21-18 lead but they were unable to put the Phoenix away. Four straight Phoenix points gave it a 22-21 lead but two straight Laura Purcell kills later gave the Ramblers first crack at the set with a 24-23 lead. A Lyndsey Zabkowicz kill erased that chance as the set progressed into extra points and LU forged a 28-28 deadlock on a Bresser kill but the Phoenix tallied the next two to claim a 30-28 win and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Again, it was all Loyola early on as the Ramblers scored four of the first five points. Green Bay battled back and pulled even at 8 but the home team pulled it together and led 15-11 after a Vogel/Bresser block. The Phoenix answered yet again, catching the Ramblers at 17-17, and the visitors eventually pushed out to a 22-20 lead on a Brittany Groth ace. A service error and block from Bresser and Eytchison got LU right back in it and, after a Carmen Leitermann kill, the Ramblers dug deep down the stretch, using a service error and two more blocks, the last a solo stuff by Vogel, to extend the match with a 25-23 triumph.
The fourth set had equal drama, despite the fact that Loyola led early for the fourth consecutive set. The Ramblers led 6-2 and 12-6 and seemed primed to send the match to a fifth set. Another Vogel block gave LU a 16-10 advantage and the hosts still led 22-15 after Bresser teamed up with Brittany Brown for a block before Green Bay rallied. The Phoenix scored five of the next six points to get within three (23-20) before an Eytchison kill gave the Ramblers a handful of set points. Green Bay fought off three of the four before a Riedel kill finally set the match to a decisive fifth set.
For the first time all afternoon, Loyola got off to a slow start with Green Bay scoring the first four points. Eytchison finally got the Ramblers on the board and it jumpstarted a 7-2 run that saw LU take a 7-6 lead. The Phoenix still held a 9-8 before the home team finally seized control. A Reidel kill tied the set at 9-9 and Brown served up five straight points to get the Ramblers to the brink, 14-9. Monica Anderson kept the Phoenix alive with a kill before a Green Bay error capped the Rambler comeback.
Eytchison finished with 16 kills, four aces and four blocks despite hitting just .122 for the match. Bresser gave the Ramblers a big lift with 13 kills and six blocks while Vogel also reached double figures in kills, racking up 10 to go with four blocks. Libero Stephanie Kinane led the back row with a season-best 33 digs.
Loyola returns to the court next Friday when it battles UIC in another key Horizon League clash at Gentile Arena. First serve is set for 7 p.m. with Midnight Madness to follow.