CHICAGO - The No. 15 Loyola men's volleyball team stopped a two-game losing skid with a sweep against Quincy in the first of two games this weekend. The Ramblers toppled over the Hawks by scores of 25-21, 25-24, and 25-17 to claim the victory and improve to 8-9, 2-3 MIVA.
Loyola slid to an 8-4 lead in the first set off of a kill from Mike Bunting. The lead extended to13-7 after a pair of blocks set by Kyle Nail shut down the Hawk offense. After calling a timeout, Quincy managed to work and close the gap to 20-16 off of a kill by Brian Peth and a service ace from Ryan Lehmann. Lehmann came up with the kill to fend off set point number one but Caldwell answered to close out the game, 25-21.
Quincy was plagued with errors in the second set, causing the team to fall 25-14 to the Ramblers. Sitting with a 5-4 lead, Loyola rattled off a five-point run with Eric Daliege at the helm of serving and again at 12-8 with Caldwell behind the line, mostly due to the Quincy blunders. At the 19-10 mark, Daliege and Dainis Berzins notched kills and Jeff Patton tabbed an ace to push the lead to 22-11.
Bunting dropped his sixth kill of the night to jump to a 3-0 lead in the third. An attack error from Bunting put the Hawks within one at a 5-4 score, but the team rebounded with kills from Caldwell, Nail, and Berzins to take back a strong lead (12-6). A kill by Lehmann put Quincy down by five (17-12), but that is as close as they would come as Loyola poured on the pressure at the net to take seven on the next 11 points. Caldwell and Joseph Smalzer put away back-to-back kills to silent the Hawks and claim the sweep.
"It was great to get some good numbers tonight against a solid Quincy team," said head coach Shane Davis. "We were able to do a lot of different things and get a lot of guys from our bench in there for some action. It is nice to get back on the winning track."
Caldwell ended the match as the lone Rambler in double-digits with 11 kills, hitting for a .576 percentage after committing only one error on the night. Bunting added seven kills while Berzins and Nail gathered six each. Collectively, the team hit for a .371 average and held the Hawks to a .042 performance. Loyola also took the advantage of nine team blocks to Quincy's one.
Loyola and Quincy return for a grudge match tomorrow night to close out the weekend. First serve is set for 7:00 p.m. in Gentile Arena.