The Loyola women’s volleyball team (15-13, 7-9) fell to Bradley University 3-2 Saturday night in its last match at Gentile Arena this season, marking the Ramblers’ third straight conference loss.
“It’s a disappointing way to finish,” head coach Amanda Berkley said after the match. “A disappointing way to finish the senior night.”
The Ramblers won the first set 25-16, which included four kills each from sophomore middle blocker Elle Van Grinsven and senior outside hitter Morgan Gresham. The team kept a closer score throughout the second set to win 27-25, including a 4-0 serving run by Gresham to propel them to the win.
The Ramblers were down by a larger deficit during the middle of the set due to errors, but tallied four more successful kills from senior outside hitter Gabi Maciagowski, who finished the match with a total of 13 kills. The Ramblers ultimately fell 25-19, but still carried a 2-1 lead into the fourth set.
Loyola began the fourth set down to Bradley, but were able to come back to tie it 11-11 and take the lead through a kill by redshirt junior right side hitter Heather Kocken. The set went back to a closer score as the Braves came up 18-17, and they held on to beat the Ramblers 25-20 and tie the match 2-2.
The Ramblers got on the board in the fifth set with a kill by Maciagowski, but dropped the set 15-11 as Bradley completed the comeback to win the match 3-2.
“We’ve got to find a way to … get that third set to get a win,” Berkley said. “It’s just disappointing that we haven’t been able to figure that out.”
Gresham, who led the team with 19 kills and 22 digs on the night, echoed Berkley’s sentiments, saying she’s also focusing on improving over the next two matches to continue toward the team goal of securing a spot in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament for the first time since 2016.
“It sucks that we couldn’t pull that out, but we can’t dwell on that,” Gresham said. “We’ve got two big matches coming up here, and we’re hoping to turn around this week.”
The Ramblers are set to take on Southern Illinois University in Carbondale Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.