STOCKTON, Calif. - No. 14 Loyola swept No. 15 Pacific tonight in Stockton, Calif. to improve to 2-3 on the season. The Ramblers beat the Tigers 32-30, 25-16, 25-22. With the loss, the Tigers fall to 2-2.
Despite tallying only 11 kills in the first set, the Ramblers were able to come out on top, winning the first set 32-30. Pacific committed far too many service errors, allowing Loyola to conserve energy for the extra stretch. With the score set 20-21, Eric Daliege and Joseph Smalzer combined for a block at the net to tie the score. Daliege followed with a kill to put the Ramblers up 22-21. The teams traded points until the end when a service error from Pacific's Christian Ahlin made it Rambler ball at 30-30. Smalzer fired two service aces to cap the set.
The second set was an entirely different game. Loyola jumped out of the gate with a 7-4 run and never looked back. Consecutive kills from Bunting and Smalzer put the Ramblers up 15-8. A Dainis Berzins kill extended the lead to 21-12 and a service error from the Tigers ended the set at a nine-point margin of 25-16.
By the third set, Loyola had really settled into a rhythm. As a team, the Ramblers collected 15 kills and four service aces. Early kills from the trio of Smalzer, Berzins, and Bunting, set the Ramblers up 7-4. Sean Daley of Pacific answered with a pair of kills to tighten the score. An attack error by Podkowa allowed the Tigers to claw back within one (22-21), but the effort fell short. With the score at 24-22, Smalzer knocked one down to take the set and the match.
Smalzer tallied 13 kills and tied a career-best six service aces to lead the Ramblers on offense. Bunting hit .423 on the night, totaling 12 kills in 26 attempts.
Loyola now looks to play No. 4 Stanford tomorrow night in Palo Alto, Calif. Game time is set for 9:00 p.m. CST