Ramblers Clash With First-Place Milwaukee

Melissa Hastings and the Ramblers battle first-place Milwaukee on Friday night

Melissa Hastings and the Ramblers battle first-place Milwaukee on Friday night

Oct. 13, 2011

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Milwaukee (15-4, 8-0) at Loyola (4-12, 1-6) - Friday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m.
TV: Lakeshore Public Television
Announcers: Tim Calderwood (Play-by-Play), Liz Tortorello-Nelson (Color)

First Serve
Loyola looks to build some momentum when it battles first-place Milwaukee on Friday night (Oct. 14) at the Halas Sports Center. The match will be broadcast live on Lakeshore Public Television with Tim Calderwood (play-by-play) and former Loyola coach Liz Tortorello-Nelson (color) on the call.

The Ramblers earned their first Horizon League win of the season with a 3-1 triumph at Wright State last Sunday but will face a stern test from the Panthers. Freshman Laura Purcell slugged a match-high 17 kills (17-3-36, .389) in the win over the Raiders as the Ramblers hit a Horizon League-season-high .291 for the match.

Tonight is the 60th all-time meeting between the longtime volleyball foes with Milwaukee holding a slight 31-28 lead in the series. However, the Ramblers are aiming to break a 10-match losing streak to the Panthers dating back to the 2006 season. Milwaukee rode a balanced offensive attack to a 3-0 sweep in the first meeting this season between the two teams back on Sept. 17 in Milwaukee. Purcell led the Ramblers with 12 kills in that match with Melissa Hastings adding eight.

The Milwaukee Series
Tonight is the 60th meeting between two of the Horizon League's most successful volleyball programs with Milwaukee owning a 31-28 edge in the all-time series. The League's two premier programs from the mid-1990s into the early 21st century, Loyola has dropped 10 straight matches to the Panthers, dating back to Oct. 6, 2006. Milwaukee is the only Horizon League team to have had any type of success in Rogers Park as the Panthers have won seven of the last nine meetings here. Despite the recent run, Loyola still holds a slight 12-11 edge all-time in its home gym.

The Kids Can Play
Loyola's early-season lineup has been dominated by freshmen, as the Ramblers have routinely featured four rookies on the floor at the same time. The group has slowly matured through the first half of the Horizon League season and has accounted for a majority of the team's scoring with the five freshmen notching 427 of the squad's 633 kills this season (67.5%).

Wrobel Running the Show
Fellow freshman Vicki Wrobel has also performed admirably this season as she was thrust into the setter role due to the injury to Natalie Fiore. Wrobel dished out a season-best 51 assists in Loyola's win over Oakland and has shown steady improvement as the season has worn on. Her defense was on display last week, as she notched a pair double-doubles, capped by equaling her season-high with 13 digs in the win over Wright State. In addition, Wrobel has also given the Ramblers a presence at the service line as her 20 service aces (0.40 aps) rank her second, percentage points behind Youngstown State's Missy Hundelt, for the Horizon League lead.