CHICAGO (March 27, 2010) – The 12th-ranked Loyola University Chicago men’s volleyball team defeated conference rival IPFW, 3-1 (30-24, 27-30, 30-12, 30-24) on Saturday night (March 27) in Alumni Gym. Four players finished with double-digit kills to lead the Ramblers (16-3 overall, 8-0 MIVA) past the visiting Mastodons (9-12, 2-6) and help Loyola finish the regular season with a perfect 12-0 record at home for the second time in program history.
Kris Berzins posted his fourth double-double of the season, finishing with 18 kills and a career-high 15 digs. Mike Bunting (15), Domenic Dewaele (12) and Matt Adler (11) also finished with double-figure kills.
With the win, the Ramblers can now finish no lower than second place in the conference, clinching home-court advantage through the semifinal round of the conference tournament.
“It was really a battle out there tonight,” said Loyola head coach Shane Davis. “We had to fight for every point. It was good to see our guys turn things around after the second set and get the job done.”
Three IPFW errors helped Loyola jump out to an early 6-2 lead in the first set. The teams swapped the next several points, with Dewaele and Berzins recording kills to keep LU in front. Four straight IPFW points cut the Ramblers’ lead to three at 15-12. The teams traded the next few points before three straight blocks gave the Mastodons an 18-17 lead.
The Ramblers jumped back in front after a 4-0 run, taking a 22-20 lead on an IPFW error. LU would stay in front from then on, closing the set on a 7-2 run.
Back-and-forth play opened the second set, as the teams traded the first seven points before IPFW notched three in a row to take a 10-7 lead. The Mastodons extended their lead to five at 16-11, but three straight points helped LU cut it back to two at 18-16. The Ramblers used four straight points to re-take the lead at 23-22, but IPFW ended the set on an 8-4 run to tie the match at one.
The teams traded blows to open the third, with LU taking the early 6-4 lead. Loyola took over after that, ripping off an 18-3 run, including nine straight points, after multiple kills from Adler and Berzins to take its largest lead of the match at 25-9. IPFW was able to scratch the scoring column a few more times, but the Ramblers closed out the set in front by 18, marking their largest set win of the season.
The squads went back and forth to open the fourth set, with Berzins and Mike Morice recording kills to help LU keep pace. An Adler kill and a Bunting service ace helped the Ramblers take a three-point lead at 15-12. Loyola stayed in front for the rest of the set, holding a slim lead over IPFW until a 6-3 run to close the set put the Mastodons away for good.
Loyola travels to Phoenix, Ariz., next week to take on Grand Canyon in two road conference matches. The Ramblers and Antelopes square off on Thursday (April 1) and Friday (April 2) at 9 p.m. CT.