CHICAGO (March 26, 2010) – A career-high 26 kills from Domenic Dewaele led the 12th-ranked Loyola University Chicago men’s volleyball team to a 3-1 (30-23, 29-31, 30-27, 30-27) win over George Mason on Friday night (March 26) in Alumni Gym. Matt Adler also posted a career-high 10 block assists to lead the Ramblers (15-3) defensively, helping to hold the Patriots (5-13) to a .189 team hitting percentage.
“It was a tough-fought match tonight,” said Loyola head coach Shane Davis. “George Mason gave us everything they had, but fortunately we were able to pull it out in the end. Domenic also played an outstanding match for us tonight, which was great to see.”
The Ramblers sprinted out to a 9-2 lead in the first set after three early service aces. Another ace from Kris Berzins and a George Mason error helped extend Loyola’s lead to nine at 14-5. The Patriots then ripped off a 10-3 run to cut the Ramblers’ lead to two at 17-15. LU then took the next three points to go in front by five at 20-15. The Ramblers held onto the lead despite a three-point GMU surge that cut it to three at 25-22. Loyola then took five of the next six points, closing out the set with three straight points to take a 1-0 lead.
The teams went point-for-point to open the second set, with three straight GMU errors giving Loyola a 14-11 edge. Three Rambler errors then allowed the Patriots to re-take the lead after earning five of the next six points at 16-15. GMU took three straight points to take a 22-19 lead, but LU responded with an 8-2 run that left the hosts in front at 27-24. The Ramblers reached set point at 29-26, but the Patriots rattled off five straight points to win the set and tie the match at one.
Loyola struggled to regain control early on in the third set, as several errors allowed George Mason to take a quick 11-9 lead. After LU took three of the next four points to tie the score at 12, the sides swapped points over the next few series. A 4-1 run fueled by two Dewaele kills helped the Ramblers re-take the lead at 19-16. Loyola would not give up the lead for the rest of the set, as Dewaele tallied five more kills to propel the hosts to the third-set win.
The Ramblers’ momentum from the third set carried over into the fourth, as they trailed the Patriots just once in the entire set. A Dewaele kill and a GMU error gave Loyola an 11-8 lead early on. The visitors then cut the lead to one at 12-11, which would be the closest they would come to the Ramblers until a 4-0 run brought them to within one again at 25-24.
LU took the next three points to move the score to 28-24, but GMU earned three of the next four to come within two at 29-27. Coming out of a timeout, Mike Bunting notched a kill to seal the match in favor of Loyola.
Bunting and Mike Morice finished the match with 12 kills each, while Berzins chipped in 10 digs.
The Ramblers host their final home match of the regular season tomorrow night (March 27) against IPFW. The match is set for 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym.