ROMEOVILLE, Ill. - Errors proved costly as the No. 12 Loyola Ramblers fell to No. 7 Lewis in three sets tonight at Neil Carey Arena in Romeoville, Ill. The Ramblers were swept by scores of 35-37, 19-25, and 20-25 to fall to 1-1 in the MIVA conference (6-6 overall), while the Flyers improved to 2-1 (8-3 overall) with the win.
The Ramblers pushed through a super-sized first set where the team battled to an exciting 35-37 final score. Down 3-5, the Ramblers began a six-point run that gave them a comfortable lead they would hold for the majority of the set. Lewis steadily worked to narrow the gap, with a kill from Jay Petty to tie the game at 20. An attack error by Lewis' Geoff Powell gave Loyola the first set point. With the score set at 26-26, a kill from Eric Daliege set up another chance for the Ramblers. The game featured nine more set points, before Petty hammered down an attack for the finish.
To open the second set, the two teams traded points to a 6-6 tie. Consecutive kills by Joseph Smalzer put the Ramblers up 8-7. Lewis forced an attack error from Mike Bunting to reach a four-point lead and trigger a Rambler timeout. Multiple errors from the Maroon and Gold allows the Flyers to push to a 21-14 lead before Loyola found its footing and began to battle back. Kills from Bunting and Cody Caldwell scraped a few more points for the Ramblers but it was not enough as the Flyers finished the set, 25-18, with a kill from Petty.
Errors plagued the Ramblers in the final set, as the team committed a total of 10 faults to hit a .000 percentage. A kill from Matt Mirick followed by back-to-back service aces from Bunting put the Ramblers up 4-3. Kills from Caldwell and Bunting kept the Ramblers in the game but consecutive errors allowed the Flyers to pull away from a 13-13 tie. An attack error from Kyle Nail lengthened the lead to 22-15. The Ramblers were able to start a comeback, paced by kills from Bunting and Nail, to set the score at 20-23 before Lewis called for a break. Out of the timeout, Lewis hitters Petty and Aaron Flick notched the final two kills to end the set and the match.
Smalzer led the Rambler offense with 13 kills, hitting for a .207 percentage. Bunting tallied 10 kills and served for a game-high four aces, while Caldwell also added 10 kills to the team total. Peter Jasaitis anchored the backline, collecting a career-best 17 digs. Karbiener and Petty tallied 14 kills apiece to lead the Flyers.
The Ramblers now take a break from League play to travel for a second match-up against George Mason on Feb. 17 at 6:00 p.m. The team will close out the weekend with a 6:00 p.m. contest against NJIT on Feb. 18.