MUNCIE, Ind. (April 17, 2010) – The 13th-ranked Loyola University Chicago men's volleyball team fell to No. 15 Ball State, 3-0 (25-30, 28-30, 28-30) on Saturday night (April 17) in Muncie, Ind. The Ramblers (18-5 overall, 10-2 MIVA) drop their second straight MIVA contest, while the Cardinals improve to 18-10 overall and 7-5 in conference play.
"This was a tough one for our guys," said Loyola head coach Shane Davis.
"They battled a tough team and a tough environment, but just couldn't pull through. We need to put this behind us now and focus on the tournament."
Loyola took the first two points of the first set, but three consecutive Rambler errors helped Ball State jump in front at 4-2. The teams then swapped several points before two kills and a Kris Berzins service ace helped LU re-take the lead at 10-9. BSU took three of the next four points to take over the lead at 12-11, staying in front by a slight margin for the next several series. The Cardinals then went on a 4-1 run to move in front by four at 25-21. The teams traded points until an LU error and a BSU kill closed the set in favor of the hosts. Domenic Dewaele posted a team-high eight kills in the first frame.
Three quick kills gave Loyola a 3-0 lead out of the gates in the second set, but Ball State responded with five straight points to take the lead at 5-3. After trading three points with the hosts, the Ramblers earned three in a row to re-take the lead at 9-8. The Cardinals then ripped off a 7-2 run fueled by three J.D. Gasparovic kills, moving in front by four at 16-12. LU fell behind by five at 19-14 before three Cardinal errors helped the Ramblers come within two at 20-18. Down four at 24-20, Mike Bunting notched two kills to propel a 4-1 LU run. Mike Morice downed a kill to keep the Ramblers alive at set point, but the Cardinals put LU away one point later to take a 2-0 lead.
Ball State jumped out to a quick lead again in the third, taking a 4-1 lead early on. Two BSU errors helped LU come within one at 4-3, but the Cardinals kept a slim lead for the next several series. Another Berzins ace tied it up at nine before BSU earned three of the next four to take a 12-10 lead. Kills from Morice and Bunting tied the score again at 12 before back-and-forth play ensued. Down three at 18-15, Berzins tallied three kills to push Loyola back to a tie at 21 all after a 6-3 LU run. A Loyola error and a BSU ace broke a 22-all tie, but LU took the next two to tie it up again at 24. Two Rambler errors and a Cardinal kill gave BSU a three-point edge at 27-24, but the Ramblers came back to within one at 29-28. BSU then ended the match on the next point.
Dewaele posted double-digit kills for the ninth straight match, leading the Ramblers with 15. Bunting chipped in 11 in the loss.
Second-seeded Loyola will host either Quincy or Grand Canyon next Saturday (April 24) in the quarterfinal round of the MIVA Tournament in Alumni Gym.