No. 12 Loyola Falls To No. 6 Long Beach State, 3-1

LONG BEACH, Calif. (March 9, 2010) – The 12th-ranked Loyola University Chicago men’s volleyball team lost its first match of the season to No. 6 Long Beach State, 3-1 (30-27, 26-30, 20-30, 29-31), tonight (March 9) in Long Beach. The loss snaps the Ramblers’ program record 12-match win streak to open the season, dropping them to 12-1. The 49ers improve to 10-7 with the win.

Kris Berzins (16), Mike Bunting (13) and Mike Morice (12) each recorded double-digit kills to lead Loyola offensively, but LBSU posted a team hitting percentage of .431 to down the visiting Ramblers.

Back-and-forth play opened the first set, with the teams exchanging the first several points before three LBSU errors gave Loyola an 11-8 lead. A kill and a service ace then allowed the 49ers to tie the score at 15. Kills from Matt Adler and Berzins pushed LU in front by two at 18-16 before the teams went back and forth over the next several points. Berzins’ second ace of the set gave the Ramblers their largest lead of the set at 26-22, with a 49er error closing the set in favor of Loyola a few points later.

LBSU took a quick 3-1 lead in the second, but a three-point LU run gave the Ramblers a 4-3 lead. Several points later, the 49ers rattled off four straight points to take a 15-11 lead. Loyola cut the hosts’ lead to one with a 3-0 run at 17-16 and again at 18-17, but LBSU extended its lead to as many as five points before closing the set and tying the match at 1-1.

Long Beach State’s momentum clearly carried over into the third set, as the 49ers used a 7-2 run early on to take a 19-12 lead and never looked back. LBSU extended its lead to 10 at 27-17, putting the set away a few points later to take a 2-1 set lead.

The Ramblers took an early 7-5 lead in the fourth set, but a 4-0 LBSU run gave the 49ers the 9-7 lead. Three straight kills helped LU tie the score at 10 before the teams went back and forth for the next several points. After recording a kill to give them the 16-15 lead, LBSU remained in front until back-to-back kills from George Kamberos tied it up at 24. Long Beach State jumped back in front briefly, but kills from Berzins and Morice tied the score again at 28. After each side picked up a point to move the score to 29-29, LBSU put together back-to-back points to clinch the set and the match.

Loyola will look to rebound from its first loss of the season this Friday (March 12) against No. 8 UCLA. The match is scheduled for 9 p.m. CT.

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