The Loyola men’s volleyball team (2-5) started its weekend with a 3-1 win over University of Charleston Friday night, ending the team’s five-game losing streak.
The Ramblers were led by redshirt freshman outside hitter Cole Schlothauer with 13 kills. Loyola tallied a season-high 11 service aces from six different Ramblers, led by senior middle blocker Kyle Piekarski, who had four. After having to sit out the beginning of the season with a concussion, Piekarski also notched a season-high 10 kills.
Piekarski said he feels like he’s starting to hit a groove since coming back from the injury. He attributed it to finding success with the setter after focusing on it in practice.
“It was a bummer being out the first couple games,” Piekarski said. “[I’ve had] just more connection with the setter. We talked … just being available as much as possible and feed me more balls.”
It was a battle from the beginning. Charleston went up 7-3 at the beginning of the first set, but Loyola quickly turned it around with a 4-0 run with two of the points coming from Piekarski. The Ramblers found themselves with the lead for the rest of the set and won 25-20 before switching sides.
The second set was a little closer. Neither team led by two points until Loyola’s Danny Farrell and Devin Joslyn combined for a block to take a 17-15 lead. The Ramblers continued their success to take the second set 25-18.
Charleston and Loyola went back and forth for a majority of the third set. It wasn’t until the end that the Golden Eagles were able to pull away with the 25-23 victory, earning both teams a trip to a fourth set.
Joslyn kicked off the fourth set with a kill. Despite a 7-5 hiccup that had the Ramblers trailing, the game was Loyola’s. A 6-1 scoring run followed and gave Loyola the momentum to finish the set 25-17 to win the match
“It was pretty consistent tonight,” Loyola head coach Mark Hulse said. “I thought we could’ve maybe been a little sharper early. The bad guys responded a little bit in the third, but we did a really nice job of bouncing back in the fourth and hit the gas pedal a little bit.”
Both teams came into the day with 1-5 records. Loyola was ranked No. 15 in the nation, while the Golden Eagles are currently unranked.
This win also marked the 500th win in Loyola history since the program was founded in 1996.