COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 1, 2010) – The 15th-ranked Loyola University Chicago men’s volleyball team suffered a 3-2 (28-30, 30-25, 30-26, 20-30, 11-15) defeat at the hands of No. 10 Ohio State in the MIVA Championship match on Saturday night (May 1) in St. John Arena. The No. 2 seed Ramblers took a 2-1 match lead before the top-seeded Buckeyes won the final two sets to earn the conference tournament title.
Ohio State used five early Loyola errors to take a 9-5 lead in the first set, but back-to-back service aces from Steve Thompson propelled a 6-2 LU run to cut OSU’s lead to one at 11-10. Kills by Mike Morice and George Kamberos kept the Ramblers within one for the next several series until two straight Buckeye errors gave Loyola its first lead of the night at 17-16.
The teams went back and forth for the next few points before five OSU kills fueled a 7-3 run that gave the hosts a three-point edge at 24-21.
The Ramblers then earned the next three points on a Kris Berzins kill and two OSU errors to tie it up at 24. The teams traded four points apiece to leave the score tied at 28 before two Buckeye kills closed the first frame in favor of OSU.
Five kills and a Mike Bunting ace helped Loyola jump out to a 6-2 lead early on in the second set. Two kills and two blocks put OSU within one at 7-6, but a kill and an ace from Morice pushed the Ramblers’ lead back to three at 10-7. The Buckeyes again pulled within one at 10-9 after back-to-back kills, but a 6-1 LU run extended the Ramblers’ lead to six at 16-10.
A Kyle Exline ace gave Loyola its largest lead of the set at 20-12, but OSU slowly started chipping away at the lead, taking seven of the next 11 points to cut it to five at 24-19. The teams swapped the next several points, but kills from Bunting and Berzins put the set away in favor of LU and tied the match at one.
Back-and-forth play opened the third set, but Loyola earned five straight points to take a 9-4 lead early on. The Ramblers pushed their lead to six several points later, with Bunting notching a kill to give LU the 16-10 lead. OSU took the next three points, but the Ramblers kept a healthy lead for the next several series. With the Ramblers up five at 25-20, the Buckeyes ripped off a 7-2 run to tie the score at 22. Loyola used three straight kills to take a 27-24 lead, with a Thompson kill and an OSU error giving LU the third-set win and a 2-1 match lead a few points later.
Loyola took a 4-2 lead out of the gates in the fourth set, but Ohio State reeled off a 7-2 run to take a 9-4 lead. The Ramblers came within three at 10-7, but another 7-2 OSU swing gave the Buckeyes an eight-point lead at 17-9. Multiple kills from Bunting kept the Ramblers within striking distance, with a Bunting-Morice block cutting the Buckeyes’ lead to five at 24-19. It was all OSU after that, as the hosts ended the frame on a 6-1 run to tie the match at two and force a fifth set.
The teams swapped the first four points per side, but two Loyola errors gave OSU the early 6-4 lead in the final set. Kills from Bunting and Kamberos kept the Ramblers within two at 8-6 at the change. A Thompson-Berzins-Bunting block cut the Buckeyes’ lead to one at 9-8 before four straight OSU points gave the hosts a five-point lead at 13-8. Bunting notched another kill to cut it to four at 13-9, but OSU matched with a kill of its own to reach match point at 14-9. Back-to-back OSU errors kept Loyola alive, but a kill from Tournament MVP Ted Schoenfeldt put an end to the set and the match.
Berzins recorded 17 kills to lead Loyola offensively, while Kamberos (16), Bunting (16) and Morice (10) all finished in double digits. Berzins, Bunting and Mike Hutz represented Loyola on the All-Tournament team. The Ramblers close out the 2010 season at 20-6 overall after putting to gether a 10-2 MIVA record, good for a second-place finish.