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1/5 - Saturday Recap

1/5 - Saturday Recap

Purdue Fort Wayne 3, Princeton 0
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Behind Michael Keegan's 37 assists, Purdue Fort Wayne took a 3-0 (25-21, 26-24, 25-18) win over Princeton on Arnie Ball Court on Saturday (Jan. 5). The Mastodons are 2-0 against Princeton in the last two seasons, with both wins coming when Keegan's brother, Cade, is on the roster.

Keegan paced the Mastodon offense on Saturday night, allowing the 'Dons to hit .369 for the night and moving the average through two games to .348. Keegan totaled 77 on the weekend, averaging to 12.83 per set. Pelegrin Vargas was the primary recipient of Keegan's setting on Saturday and was able to convert 14 kills on 29 swings for a .379 clip. Tomas Gago tallied eight kills on nine swings for an .889 percentage.

In the opening set, the Mastodons were able to hit .500 on 14-2-24. Despite falling behind 8-5 early on, the Mastodons fought back. They went on a 5-1 run to take an 18-16 lead and force a timeout. Vargas had a kill and two straight aces to end the run. Gago earned the final kill of the set to cap off the 3-1 run that ended the frame.

The Mastodons did not lead in the second set until 25-24. Their first lead was behind a 10-4 run that ended when the set did, which was ended by a joust at the net between Princeton's 6-11 opposite George Huhmann and Tony Price. Price was able to push the ball back onto the Tigers' side of the net to take set two.

The third set started slow for the 'Dons yet again, as they trailed at the 5-1 mark. A balanced attack took the 'Dons down the stretch, pushing a 12-2 run that put them up 20-13. Gago finished off the match with his eighth kill of the night.

The service pressure was effective for the 'Dons, as they managed eight aces and only 10 errors. Price, Vargas, Colton Stone and Richie Diedrich all had two aces each.

Kolbie Knorr and Vargas led the team in digs with six each. Knorr averaged 2.67 digs per set in the first two matches of his senior season with no reception errors.

Keegan is three assists away from passing Colin Lundeen to move into sixth in program history in career assists. He currently has 2687 in his career.

The Mastodons improve to 2-0 on the year, while Princeton falls to 0-4. Purdue Fort Wayne is on the road next, as the 'Dons head to Lees-McRae and Queens on Friday and Saturday (Jan. 11-12).

Ohio State 3, Penn State 1
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 8 Ohio State University men's volleyball team (2-0) concluded 2019's opening weekend by capturing its second win in as many nights, handing Penn State (0-1) a four-set defeat (25-13, 20-25, 25-21, 26-24). Sanil Thomas steered the OSU offense to a .380 hitting percentage with a total of 46 assists.
Jake Hanes was the most frequent recipient of those Thomas' sets, taking 46 swings and attacking .413 with 24 kills compared to five errors. Reese Devilbiss took roughly half the amount of attempts while posting a similar efficiency (.400; 12-2-25). Blake Leeson delivered when called upon, pounding nine kills of 14 error-free attacks (.643).

There was a communal effort in the defensive backcourt as five different Buckeyes dug between five and nine balls.

SET 1: Ohio State hitting .320 and recording five aces combined with the Nittany Lions' seven attack errors resulted in a lopsided first set score of 25-13. Hanes was directly responsible for 7.5 points, putting up four kills, three aces and a block assist.

SET 2: Penn State showed some bite in the second, responding from the lackluster first frame by racing out to a 6-2 edge. The Nittany Lions rolled along at a .500 hitting clip (17-3-28) and made a few plays late when needed in the 25-20 equalizer. Hanes did everything he could to lift Ohio State, rocking nine kills in the set.

SET 3: Ohio State surrendered the lead for the first time in the set at 18-17 following a three-point PSU spurt. The Buckeyes would go to snag eight of the next 11 tallies though, emerging as 25-21 victors. Hanes tacked on seven more kills while Leeson and Austin Gerwig inflicted maximum damage from the middle, combing for seven kills on seven hacks.

SET 4: Back-and-forth it went in the fourth, evidenced by 15 tied scores. Neither team mustered an edge of more than three points throughout the entire set. Penn State earned two set-point opportunities leading 24-22, both of which were denied by the Scarlet & Gray. Sophomore transfer Kyle Skinner then toed the baseline and ripped the go-ahead ace, 25-24. The six-foot tall Sanil Thomas, alongside Gerwig, then rejected Penn State's Matthew McLaren (6'4″) for the night's final point in a crowd-rousing moment.

Loyola 3, North Greenville 0
In Short…
Loyola got its first victory of the season by way of a 3-0 sweep vs. North Greenville on Saturday (Jan. 5). The Ramblers got six kills each from Paul Narup and Kyle Piekarski, while Narup added five blocks.

Coach Hulse's Thoughts
"It was a good win, we're just hoping to meet our standard this time a year," head coach Mark Hulse said. "This time a year you just need to play good volleyball. [We] don't know what the other teams are going to do – scouting aren't worth much this time of year so you just try and be good on your side of the net. I thought by and large we met that standard."

How It Happened
Loyola hit .462 in the opening set to keep pace with the persistent attack of NGU. The early potions of the frame saw back-and-forth action, but a Narup solo block gave Loyola a 9-8 lead they kept the rest of the way. The Crusaders hung tough, but three straight kills from Narup, Piekarski and Collin Mahan put Loyola ahead 21-17 and in perfect position to control the tempo. The hot stretch continued after an NGU timeout with a 4-0 run to win the set at 25-18, capped off by a Luke Denton service ace.

Set number two was all Loyola from start to finish. Nine straight points out of the gate saw four kills, four blocks and an ace that propelled the Ramblers to the 9-0 lead. The large cushion allowed Hulse to utilize his depth on the bench to carry the load through the set two victory that Loyola led from start to finish. Eight different players recorded a kill for 12 total, and the Maroon and Gold cruised to a 25-12 victory.

North Greenville got back to its pesky habits in the third set and jumped out to two-point leads of 6-4 and 8-6. Despite the difficult play from its opponent, Loyola found a way to re-take control of the tempo after six ties before a Dane Leclair kill thrusted his team in front at 15-13. NGU quickly tied it back up, but Loyola responded with a 3-0 run that put them in front for good. Loyola compiled eight kills after the 15-15 mark, including the final nail in the coffin from Devin Joslyn to complete the sweep with a 25-23 set three win.

A Look at the Numbers
-Loyola's .438 attack is the first time hitting over .400 since Mar. 17, 2018 at Lewis.
-Paul Narup notched his first match of his senior season with multiple solo blocks. He had three last year.
-Garrett Zolg led the Ramblers with eight digs, marking the first time since March 29, 2018 he led the team in that department for a match.
-Seeing action in two sets, Devin Joslyn tied his personal best with five kills – the third time he's recorded that amount in a match.

Up Next
Loyola takes a quick road trip on Jan. 11-12 in Bristol, Tenn. to square off against two more Conference Carolina opponents. That Friday's matchup is a neutral site contest vs. Mount Olive (4 p.m. CT) while Saturday's challenge is against the defending CVAC Champion in King University (7 p.m. CT).

Ball State 3, NJIT 2
MUNCIE, Ind. – After the Ball State men's volleyball team took a commanding two-set lead, New Jersey Institute of Technology rallied to even the match at 2-2 before the Cardinals secured the decisive fifth set on Saturday night at Worthen Arena (25-20, 25-17, 22-25, 21-25, 15-10).

The victory pushed Ball State to 2-0 for the season and marked the 12th straight victory at home. NJIT dropped to 0-2 on the year.

"It was a tale of two different matches," said Ball State head coach Joel Walton. "We played well in the first two games and our offense was rolling. In games three and four NJIT started to serve better and they made some adjustments that we didn't handle very well. Game five we got back into our offensive flow and it was critical for our guys to come through in some really important moments."

After newcomers Kaleb Jenness and Felix Egharevba led the way for BSU in a 3-0 sweep of Princeton just one night earlier, the Cardinals relied on the experience of returning players David Siebum and Matt Szews in a more tightly contested match.

Siebum led the way for Ball State in kills with 14 while Szews was not far behind with 13. The pair combined for six service aces, four blocks and 13 digs. They also added one assist apiece.

"Szews was having to take some really difficult swings tonight, but we need his arm because he balances out the defense when he's playing well," Walton said. "I thought Siebum put together back-to-back nights that were really solid. His offense was much needed and he hit some really smart shots at critical times.

Despite a contested match that went five sets, Ball State won most of the statistical categories Saturday night. The offense produced 54 kills compared to 41 for the Highlanders, as well as 10 service aces to NJIT's six. Fifty assists outperformed 40 from NJIT and the Cardinals narrowly won the digs battle by a tally of 40-37.

After cruising through sets one and two, the momentum began to shift when NJIT took set three. Ball State tried to recover in set four after the Highlanders led by as many as seven, but could only trim the deficit to one as NJIT went on to win 25-21.

The Highlanders led 4-3 early in set five, but Ball State quickly rediscovered its rhythm with a 3-0 run to claim a 6-4 lead. The Cardinals wouldn't surrender the lead for the remainder of the match and gradually gained separation to win the final set 15-10.

After two matches in two nights to open the year, BSU now gets a night off before squaring off against UC Irvine on Monday night at Worthen Arena. The Anteaters were selected as the No. 4 team in the country in the initial AVCA Top-15 poll. First serve is slated for 7:00 p.m. ET and admission to the match is free.

UC Irvine 3, Lewis 1
ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – The seventh ranked Lewis men's volleyball team dropped a top 10 match to fourth ranked UC Irvine 3-1 (19-25, 25-20, 17-25, 19-25) on Saturday evening at Neil Carey Arena in Romeoville, Ill.

The Flyers (1-1) were led by Ryan Coenen (Franklin, WI/Franklin) and TJ Murray (Barrington, IL/Barrington) with 11 kills each while Tyler Mitchem (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) added eight kills and Julian Moses (Atlanta, GA/Atlanta International School) finished with five kills. Matt Yoshimoto (Ventura, CA/Adolfo Camarillo) dished out 42 assists and Michael Simmons (Aurora, IL/Waubonsie Valley) had 13 digs. Murray also had five total blocks while Coenen and Mitchem had four blocks each.

Lewis hit .104 (46 kills-33 errors-125 attacks) for the match, while the Anteaters (2-0) hit .269 (45-16-108). UCI finished with 13.5 total team blocks while the Flyers had 11.5 team blocks.

The Flyers scored the first three points of the match but the Anteaters responded with a 7-1 run to take a three point lead. Lewis cut the lead to 9-8 on a kill from Mitchem but UCI began to pull away with a 9-5 run to build a five-point lead.

The Flyers got as close as four but the Anteaters were able to close out the set by scoring six of the final 10 points.

Lewis used a 6-3 run midway through the second set to take a 16-13 lead on a kill from Moses. UC Irvine came back to even things at 16 after a service ace from Joel Schneidmiller. The Flyers responded with a 6-2 run to grab a four point lead and would go onto win the set 25-20.

The Anteater defense held the Lewis attack to a negative hitting percentage in the third set recording 6.5 total blocks and forced the Flyers into 12 errors. UCI took control midway through the frame with a 6-2 run to build an 18-12 lead. Lewis wouldn't get closer than five points the rest of the set.

The Flyers led 9-7 in set four but were unable to overcome 6-2 run which allowed the Anteaters to take a 13-11 lead. Lewis cut the lead to one on multiple occasions but were unable to get over the hump as UCI closed out the match scoring seven of the final 10 points.

The Flyers return to action next weekend as they travel to Bristol, Tenn., for a pair of matches against King (Tenn.) and Mount Olive.