The Loyola men’s volleyball team was swept by Lewis University 3-0 in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Championship Saturday night. Collin Mahan led the way for the Ramblers with nine kills and five digs.
The Flyers won every set easily, with the Ramblers never tallying 20 points in any of the sets. Loyola’s head coach Mark Hulse credited Lewis for having better execution, but he said his squad fought hard the entire match.
“[Lewis] was pretty sharp,” Hulse said following the loss. “Our execution was just ‘okay.’ I don’t think it was so much of a desire thing as it was an execution thing.”
Hulse said Lewis’ strong net play made it tough for Loyola to get into a rhythm.
“They were tough,” Hulse said. “They put enough pressure on us in some aspects of the game that it made us a little bit one dimensional. They’re really physical at the net so when they know where it’s going, it’s tough to get past the net, never mind the diggers.”
Lewis tallied 40 kills compared to Loyola’s 32. However, the Flyers’ net dominance is shown by their 14 blocks while the Ramblers tallied just two.
Lewis finished the regular season in first place in the MIVA which earned the Flyers the luxury of playing every MIVA Tournament game at their home arena, Neil Carey Arena. Hulse said he thought Lewis was able to feed off the crowd’s energy and propel to victory.
“[Neil Carey Arena] is a very tough place to play,” Hulse said. “[Lewis] is very confident here. I don’t know if the fans had a big impact on us from a negative perspective … but it certainly helped them.”
However, Hulse said he was glad to see Loyola fans making the roughly one-hour drive south to Romeoville from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus — despite the students being on Easter break. He said he knew more fans would be able to make the trip compared to last year when the MIVA Championship was played much farther away at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
“We weren’t that concerned with the prospect of having to go on the road,” Hulse said. “We knew we’d have a few fans here, and a there were a lot of people here that just like good volleyball and they were cheering for good plays on both sides. It’s nice.”
The Ramblers end the season with a record of 21-8 and finished in second place in the MIVA regular season.