The Loyola women’s volleyball team (8-4) fell to Northwestern University 3-1 in the final game of the 2018 Chicago Cup at Gentile Arena Saturday night.
“I think the team definitely competed,” Loyola head coach Amanda Berkley said after the match. “Passing broke down, and it’s hard to play when you can’t pass.”
Senior outside hitter Gabi Maciagowski, redshirt junior right side hitter Heather Kocken and sophomore middle blocker Elle Van Grinsven all posted double-digit kills for the Ramblers, with Maciagowski leading the way with 11. On the defensive end, senior libero Alex Nunez recorded 12 digs.
Loyola took the first set 25-19, but dropped the second set 25-12. In the third set, Loyola trailed 15-10, but used a 6-1 run to fight back and later take the lead. From there, both teams went back-and-forth and had multiple set points before Northwestern claimed the set 29-27.
The Wildcats then took the fourth set 25-18 to finish off the match.
“[The third set] didn’t fall our way that time,” Berkley said. “But I’m still proud of our team for fighting and competing.”
Despite the outcome, Berkley said the close contest against a Big 10 Conference opponent was a test for her team to prepare for conference play. The end of the Chicago Cup marked the end of non-conference play for the Ramblers, and Maciagowski said the team is ready to start Missouri Valley Conference action with a clean slate.
“[Conference play is] a whole new playground,” Maciagowski said. “[We’re] 0-0 from here. [It’s a] fresh start. We got it.”
The match also marked Northwestern head coach Shane Davis’ return to Gentile Arena. Davis was the head coach of the Loyola men’s volleyball team from 2003-15 and led the program to back-to-back national championships in 2014 and 2015.
Loyola is set to open the conference schedule Sept. 21 at the University of Evansville.