The Loyola men’s volleyball team (6-10, 3-3) moved to 3-3 in Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) conference play after defeating McKendree University 3-1 at Gentile Arena Thursday night.
“[This win] was probably the most collective effort we’ve had all year,” head coach Mark Hulse said. “I think the guys have been working really hard in the practice gym. Obviously we want more ticks in the win column, but what we’re building [toward] showed a little bit today.”
The Ramblers started the first set strong, going on a 10-1 scoring run against McKendree early on before taking it 25-13.
The two teams were more evenly matched in the second set. The biggest lead Loyola took was by only three points at the beginning and end of the match, which the Ramblers took 25-22.
The Ramblers lost their grip in the third set, falling to the Bearcats 25-22. They responded quickly in the fourth set, taking it 25-15 to win the match 3-1.
Redshirt freshman Cole Schlothauer led the Ramblers with a career-high 22 kills. Hulse said his productivity and efficiency with recording kills has been a large part of the team’s offense this season.
“We’re sending [Schlothauer] lots and lots of volleyballs,” Hulse said. “What he’s been able to do not just from a volleyball standpoint, but from being able to lead and shoulder the load, has been really good.”
Before the match, McKendree was second in MIVA play with Loyola entering the match in sixth place spot out of the eight teams in the conference.
The Ramblers are scheduled to face off against rival No. 5 Lewis University on the road Feb. 29. This match marks the end of the first half of conference play for Loyola.
“We’ll do what we need to do before tonight and Saturday to be a little fresher and prepared,” Hulse said. “We’ll do our work as coaches, [the players] will recover, we’ll get on the road and we’ll try to be tough as a unit.”
First serve at Lewis is slated for 7 p.m.