The No. 7 ranked Loyola men’s volleyball team (7-3) bounced back after a disappointing first set to defeat Pennsylvania State University 3-1 at Gentile Arena Saturday night.
Senior outside hitter Collin Mahan recorded a double double as he led the Ramblers with a new career high 24 kills to go along with 11 digs and two service aces. Junior middle blocker Kyle Piekarski also contributed with 12 kills and sophomore setter Garrett Zolg recorded a new career high with 57 assists.
“[Penn State] had a tough road trip getting out here,” head coach Mark Hulse said. “They were really really scrappy and had put a lot of pressure on us to win some points.”
Loyola struggled during the first set as they were unable to create a dominant offensive run and eventually lost the first set 21-25. The second set was all Loyola as it had finally found rhythm offensively with a 39.1 attack percentage to take the set 25-16.
The third and fourth sets were very back and forth as neither team could pull away to form a commanding lead. The third set had multiple service errors towards the end of the match, but Loyola was able to pull through to take the third set 31-29 and take the match score to 2-1 in their favor.
The fourth set was more of the same with Loyola unable to run away with the set, ultimately the Ramblers found a way to create a lead and eventually took the set 27-25 to take the match 3-1.
“[Penn State was] not going to beat themselves,” Hulse said. ”As they’re errors went down it became apparent that we were going to have to kill it.”
Mahan praised the team’s ball movement and communication and credited teammates such as Zolg and senior libero Avery Aylsworth.
“The other guys have to be playing well … we just feed off of each others energy, try to get it going,” Mahan said. “Zolg is a great voice out there and is always fired up.”
With the loss, Penn State falls to 4-4 on the year. Penn State had two players with 11 kills in redshirt junior middle blocker Jason Donorovich and redshirt junior outside hitter Henrik Falck Lauten.
Loyola is next scheduled to play Quincy University Feb. 8 in Quincy, IL. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.