February 24, 2012

IPFW Upsets #14 Loyola in Five-Set Thriller

CHICAGO - Led by Bryan Saunders and Ivan Matos, the IPFW men's volleyball team climbed back from a two-set deficit to beat #14 Loyola in five sets Friday evening at Gentile Arena in Chicago, Ill.

The Mastodons snap a two-match skid, and move to 8-6 (2-2 MIVA) overall in 2012. Loyola drops to 8-7 (1-2 MIVA) with the home loss. IPFW halts a six-match losing streak to Loyola with the win.

The Ramblers were victorious in the first two sets after earning 26-24 and 25-17 wins. IPFW jumped out to a commanding 13-3 lead in the opening game, before Loyola marched back, and fought-off three Mastodon set point chances to win the frame. In set two, the Ramblers took an 8-7 advantage and never looked back, moving ahead 20-11, and finishing the set with a kill from Cody Caldwell to take a 2-0 match lead.

After intermission, the teams traded points in the third set, before IPFW earned a one-point advantage at 8-7, and held the lead up to set point. On the frame's final play, Omar Rivera placed a set to a jumping Matos, who blasted a kill to hand the Mastodons set three, 25-22.

In the fourth set, two kills each from Eddie Rivera and Elon Fyfield gave IPFW a 10-5 lead. A block from O. Rivera and Corey Frain carried the five-point advantage to 20-15, as the visitors remained aggressive from all spots of the court. When IPFW drew set point at 24-22, Saunders found the ball at the middle of the net, and finished with a powerful kill to move the contest into a fifth and deciding set.

An E. Rivera attack error and Rambler kill gave the home team an early 2-0 advantage in the final frame. Moments later, IPFW gained the lead at 6-4 after Saunders dialed in a kill, forcing a Loyola timeout. Following the break, the Ramblers answered with back-to-back points to even the set at 6-6. The teams traded points until IPFW took the lead at 12-11 off a kill from Matos. The Mastodons held the advantage to match point at 14-13, when E. Rivera put the contest away with his eighth kill of the night to give IPFW the road win.

Matos led the Mastodons with 17 kills, while Saunders recorded a career-high 11. JW Kieckhefer and Fyfield totaled nine and eight digs, respectively. O. Rivera tallied a team-best 37 assists. Fourteen Mastodons saw action on Friday.

IPFW will return home for its next match on March 2, when NJIT enters the Gates Sports Center. First servce is set for 7:00 p.m. EST.

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