CHICAGO - After winning the first two sets of the night, the No. 14 Loyola men's volleyball team dropped the next three as IPFW staged a comeback to steal the 3-2 win. With the loss, the Ramblers fall to 8-7, 1-2 MIVA while the Mastodons improve to 8-6, 2-2.
Loyola stormed back from an 11-2 deficit to take set one, 26-24. At the 8-15 mark, Joseph Smalzer launched a kill to start a three-point run and bring the Ramblers within four. Kills by Dan Mader and Ramon Burgos pushed the Mastodons back out in front. Loyola hit another run with help from Steve Thompson and Cody Caldwell kills and a Dainis Berzins service ace. With Caldwell at the helm of serving, the Ramblers fought off three set points to tie the score at 24 and eventually take the clutch win after errors from the Dons.
The second set showed a tighter race off the whistle until a kill from Berzins triggered a six-point dash that showcased two aces from Thompson. IPFW notched two consecutive service aces to push the game to 25-15, but a timeout from Loyola froze the momentum as a Caldwell kill put away the set 25-17.
IPFW rebounded from the two-set deficit to win the next three and steal away the win. In the third set, the team broke away from a 15-15 tie score with help from Ivan Matos. Bunting halted the run at 16-20 but the edge was too great as IPFW endured to pull out a 25-22 win.
Falling to a 4-9 shortfall in the fourth, Loyola found itself in another uphill battle. With the score at 7-12, Caldwell put away two kills and Matt Mirick tallied a solo block to narrow the lead to three. Bunting and Bryan Saunders traded points in the end before the Dons called for a fifth.
The final set exhibited eight tie scores and three lead changes. The Mastodons were the first to reach eight points after a kill from Matos. The two teams traded points to a tie at 11. Eddie Rivera sandwiched kills around one from Bunting to close out the upset.
Bunting led the fight to stay alive by tallying 15 of his team-high 17 kills in the third and fourth sets. Caldwell added 13 kills and 10 digs, while Daliege registered 10 kills and also served as a bright spot at the net, tallying near half the team total with a career-high nine blocks on the night. Libero Peter Jasaitis also turned in a career-best performance, tying his previous mark of 17 digs.
The Ramblers will have to bounce back from the loss as the team is set to battle No. 8 Ohio State tomorrow night. The match is set to being at 7:00 p.m. CST in Gentile Arena.