LOS ANGELES (March 12, 2010) – The 12th-ranked Loyola University Chicago men’s volleyball team recorded a season-low .170 team hitting percentage en route to a 3-0 (16-30, 27-30, 24-30) loss to No. 8 UCLA on Friday night (March 12) in Los Angeles. The Ramblers (12-2) drop their second straight match, while the Bruins move to 12-9 with the win.
The Bruins came out blazing to open the match, taking an 11-3 lead early on in the first set. Back-to-back blocks then extended UCLA’s lead to 11 at 20-9. While the Ramblers were able to cut the Bruins’ lead back to nine multiple times over the final several points, UCLA closed out the set on a 6-1 run to hand Loyola a 14-point first-set loss, its worst of the season.
UCLA took a quick 3-1 lead in the second set, but Loyola responded by taking three of the next four points to tie the score at four.
Back-and-forth play ensued, with kills from Kris Berzins and Mike Bunting helping the Ramblers keep pace. The Bruins then jumped in front with a 4-0 run to push the score to 19-15. Another Berzins kill brought LU to within one at 21-20, but two Rambler errors helped UCLA extend its lead back to three at 26-23. The teams exchanged points before a kill from Jack Polales closed the set in favor of UCLA.
UCLA again took an early lead to open the third set, capping a 5-2 run with a Thomas Amberg service ace. Back-to-back kills from George Kamberos helped the Ramblers reel off a 4-0 run to take their first lead of the night at 6-5. A kill from Bunting then gave LU a two-point lead at 10-8, with the teams trading points from there. A 6-1 run vaulted UCLA into the lead at 21-17, but kills from Bunting and Berzins cut the deficit in half at 21-19. The two-point margin would be the closest the Ramblers would come to the Bruins, as the home team would then close the set and the match with a 3-0 run capped by an Amberg-Kevin Ker block.
Bunting recorded a match-high 15 kills in the loss. Polales posted 14 kills to lead the Bruins, who recorded a .429 hitting percentage for the match.
The Ramblers wrap up their road trip tomorrow night (March 13) against No. 3 Cal State Northridge. The match is scheduled for 9 p.m. CT.