No. 2 seed Loyola moved on in its quest for an NCAA tournament berth after hosting No. 7 seed Lindenwood University for the quarterfinal of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) tournament in Gentile Arena Saturday night. The Ramblers completed the 3-0 sweep of the Lions to advance to the semifinals April 18.
“I thought it was a tough win, that team has been playing really well down the stretch,” head coach Mark Hulse said after the game. “Obviously, they got us last week and stuff, so we responded really well, I thought.”
The Ramblers (22-6, 11-3) had 38 total assists throughout the game, compared to Lindenwood’s 28. First-year setter Garrett Zolg led Loyola with 27 assists. Hulse said assists are a pivotal part in the game because they lead to kills.
“You have to kill the ball,” Hulse said. “You can block it, you can try and dig it a bunch and maybe you get a couple laces here and there, but the vast majority if you’re going to get to 25 [points], you have to kill the ball.”
Senior opposite Ricky Gevis led the team in kills with a total of 14.5, while junior outside hitter Collin Mahan had 11.5 and senior middle blocker Jeff Jendryk tallied 11. Jendryk said the seniors know any game can be their last during the tournament, so they use that as motivation.
“Just play every game like it’s your last. Even for the [first-years], sophomore, juniors or seniors, we know that this is crunch time,” Jendryk said. “If we lose, we’re done, so we just have to make sure we put the effort in the small plays and make those small plays big plays.”
The Ramblers are scheduled to play Ball State University in the semifinals April 18 at Gentile Arena.