COLUMBUS, Ohio - Despite a hard-fought battle against conference rival Ohio State, the Loyola men's volleyball team fell tonight in three sets, ending its winning streak at six. The Buckeyes defeated the Ramblers by scores of 25-22, 25-20, and 25-23. With the loss, Loyola drops to 16-11, 7-4 MIVA while Ohio State moves to 15-8, 5-3.
Down 5-2 in the first set, Loyola tallied three consecutive points to catch up to a tie. After a few attack errors by the Ramblers, Ohio State pulled to another lead, which it held until a kill by Mike Bunting and a service ace from Steve Thompson brought the score back to a tie (16-16). A Smalzer kill gave Loyola its first lead of the match at 17-16 but the Buckeyes quickly turned the momentum to nab four straight kills for a 24-21 set point. Grayson Overman and Michael Hency combined for a block to end the set.
At the 4-3 mark in the second, Loyola rattled off four points, a kill from Smalzer and three consecutive stops by the block of Smazler, Bunting, and Eric Daliege, to gain a 7-4 advantage. Once again, Ohio State answered with a run of its own to close the gap immediately. The two teams traded points until, at 15-15, a kill from Overman triggered a Rambler breakdown. Loyola managed only five more points before Shawn Sangrey finished the set, 25-20.
The final set started similar to the others with Loyola and Ohio State alternating runs and leads. Trailing 16-11, Smalzer scored three of the next seven points and Bunting served an ace to bring the score to 17-15. A pair of marks from Dainis Berzins brought the Ramblers within one at 20-19. Bunting helped the Ramblers fight two set points before Sangrey put the exclamation point on the match, ending the game 25-23.
Smalzer led with a match-high 17 kills while Bunting added 13. As part of the Rambler defensive effort, Peter Jasaitis collected nine digs while Thompson garnered four of seven total team blocks at the net. Matt Mirick finished with 39 assists. Shawn Sangrey and Mik Berzins each posted double-digit kills to lead the Buckeyes.
The Maroon and Gold returns home next week for a match on April 4. Loyola welcomes Lindenwood to Gentile Arena at 7:00 p.m. CST.