Loyola won its seventh consecutive match and improved to 6-0 in conference play with a road sweep of Ohio State. Collin Mahan, Will Tischler and Paul Narup each tallied a match-high nine kills, while Narup added six blocks to lead all participating players.
Coach Hulse's Thoughts
"We caught Ohio State at less than full strength," head coach Mark Hulse said. "Though I thought we played well enough on our side of the net and battled out another win on the road."
How It Happened
Loyola picked up kills early and often with three straight that put them ahead 6-2. After recording one in the team's previous 3-0 run, Paul Narup picked up another to widen the lead to 11-5 and force an early Buckeye timeout. Still holding the upper hand, Loyola kept the pressure on with a 5-0 run that extended the lead to 16-8 – a stretch that featured a Garrett Zolg ace, a Rambler triple block and a Narup kill. The Buckeyes trimmed the lead to six on three separate occasions, but Loyola finished the set strong with a 5-0 run, capped off by back-to-back Will Tischler service aces to win the opening stanza, 25-14.
Tischler racked up four kills within the match's first 15 points to propel the Ramblers to an early 9-6 lead in the middle frame. Ohio State later on took the lead at 14-13 with a 3-0 run, setting the table for an evenly played set the rest of the way. With the frame tied 16-16, Loyola's middle blockers anchored a 4-1 run that established a three-point lead at 20-17. The Buckeyes shrunk it back to two, but three straight kills from Collin Mahan, Narup and Dane Leclair kept Loyola in the driver's seat, now up 23-19. Refusing to quit, OSU narrowed the score to two again, but another Tischler kill and a Rambler double-team block finished the job at 25-21.
Ohio State enjoyed multiple two-point leads at the 8-6 and 10-8 marks, and led by as much as three at a 12-9 clip. The tide turned with a 7-1 run midway through the stanza that put the visitors ahead 16-13. Tischler (twice) and Zolg both registered kills, while a triple-team block with the two of them and Kyle Piekarski anchored the stretch. The Buckeyes worked their deficit back to two at 20-18, but the Ramblers exploded for five straight points to end the match, highlighted by kills and blocks from Narup and Leclair. The 5-0 run won the set at 25-18 and officially put the Ramblers in the win column for the seventh consecutive outing.
A Look at the Numbers
-With six total blocks, Paul Narup had or shared the team lead for stoppers in a match for the fourth consecutive contest, setting a new season high.
-Dane Leclair's six digs set a new personal season high.
-The .075 opponent attack percentage is the lowest the Ramblers have held a MIVA opponent since April 7, 2018 at Quincy.
-The win was Loyola's third ever straight-sets victory over the Buckeyes in Columbus.
The Maroon and Gold briefly return to Gentile to renew their rivalry with Lewis on March 1. The winner of the match will take sole possession of first place in the conference standings. With both teams checking in at 6-0 in MIVA play, the tilt will mark the best combined conference record ever (12-0) between the two upon the first meeting of the season.
2/24 - Loyola 3, Ohio State 0