The No. 7-ranked Loyola men’s volleyball team (10-3, 3-0) rebounded after a disappointing first set to defeat No. 15-ranked Purdue University Fort Wayne 3-1 at Gentile Arena Friday night.
Senior outside hitter Collin Mahan led the Ramblers with 15 kills to go along with five digs. Sophomore setter Garrett Zolg tallied a match-high 49 assists, and junior middle blocker Kyle Piekarski also contributed with 10 kills.
“It was a real hard-fought match by both teams,” Loyola head coach Mark Hulse said after the match. “This is a really tough weekend … it’s recover-and-do-it-again-[tomorrow].”
“It was a real hard-fought match by both teams. This is a really tough weekend … it’s recover-and-do-it-again-[tomorrow].”Mark Hulse, Loyola head coach
With the loss, Purdue Fort Wayne falls to 8-6 overall on the year and 2-1 in Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association play. The Mastodons were led by junior outside hitter Pelegrin Vargas’ 13 kills and senior setter Michael Keegan’s 24 assists.
Loyola started off strong early in the first set, but ultimately was unable to establish a lead late and lost 25-20 to fall in a 1-0 hole. The Ramblers came out strong in the second set as they started off with a strong 16-6 lead and, despite seeing the lead shrink to 20-17, they held on to win 25-21 and tie the match 1-1.
The third and fourth sets were all Loyola as the Ramblers built commanding leads and never took their feet off the gas. Loyola took the third stanza 25-21 and sealed the victory with a 25-13 win in the fourth set.
Senior middle blocker Paul Narup finished the game with six blocks and 11 kills, with an electrifying block in the fourth set to clinch the win for Loyola. After the match, he said he attributed the team’s preparation to his solid numbers in the match.
“I think we had a good game plan going in,” Narup said. “We were definitely focusing on doing some good work out there, so I just took a chance and it worked out.”
Loyola is next scheduled to play No. 12 Ball State University Feb. 16 at Gentile Arena. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN3.