Men's Volleyball

Piekarski, Mahan Lead No. 7 Loyola to 3-0 Sweep of UC San Diego

Nick Schultz | The PhoenixJunior middle blocker Kyle Piekarski serves against UCSD Jan. 19.

Fresh off its upset of No. 5-ranked Pepperdine University, the No. 7-ranked Loyola men’s volleyball team (5-1) swept University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in three sets 25-20, 25-15 and 25-16 at Gentile Arena Saturday night. The win marked the 100th win in program history at Gentile, giving the Ramblers a 100-19 overall record on their home court.

Loyola junior middle blocker Kyle Piekarski finished the match with 10 kills, just two shy of his career high. Senior outside hitter Collin Mahan also tallied 10 kills and eight digs, and sophomore setter Garrett Zolg contributed with 29 assists.

“It’s just playing hard and getting up early and trusting your stuff,” Piekarski said after the match. “We work hard for it in practice … it was a good [match].”

The Ramblers practiced more caution with their serves, committing just 10 service errors. Loyola head coach Mark Hulse said he was proud of the way the team cut down on the mistakes after committing 22 service errors against Pepperdine.

“It helps that we played less volleyball,” Hulse said. “The beginning of the match last night, we just really struggled and weren’t taking our time.”

UCSD now falls to 2-4 on the year. The Tritons were led by sophomore outside hitter Wyatt Harrison’s six kills. With the win, the Ramblers look ahead to a three-match stretch against multiple nationally-ranked teams, including No. 6-ranked University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Jan. 31.

“The last few weeks we’ve been on kind of a curve heading up,” Hulse said. “It sets us up well for conference … it’s given us a progressive reminder that we just have to be really good every night.”

Loyola is next scheduled to take on No. 10-ranked California State University, Northridge Jan. 25 in Northridge, California. First serve is scheduled for 9 p.m. CDT.

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