The Loyola men’s volleyball team (5-9, 2-2) moved to 2-2 in Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) conference play after defeating The Ohio State University 3-1 at Gentile Arena Friday night.
“I think the guys just played really tough, with passion and emotion,” Loyola head coach Mark Hulse said after the victory. “[Ohio State] puts a lot of pressure on you with the way they serve and play, but I thought that we dealt with that in a way that we’ve been working on getting to.”
The Ramblers started the first set strong by taking the lead early, which they held onto for the entire set before taking it 25-20. However, they struggled early in the second set as Ohio State took the lead and eventually the entire set 25-21.
Loyola responded quickly both offensively and defensively in the final two sets. In a score repeat of the first set, the Ramblers took the third set 25-20. They closed out the match against Ohio State in the fourth set 25-22.
Redshirt freshman Cole Schlothauer led the Ramblers with 17 kills while adding eight digs and two service aces.
After the game, Hulse announced that junior setter Garrett Zolg would be taking a redshirt year after not seeing any action this season due to undisclosed health reasons. Zolg was named to the All-MIVA first team this season after averaging 10.87 assists per set last year. He’ll have two years of eligibility remaining.
However, senior setter Ian Cowen has taken over Zolg’s responsibilities well this year and tallied 44 assists against Ohio State.
Gentile Arena was full of energy thanks to the 935 fans in attendance, the most the team has seen since 2,102 fans watched the Ramblers fall to No. 1 University of Hawaii Jan. 18. Schlothauer said the environment in Gentile supported the team during the match.
“It’s a whole different environment when we have a thousand people behind us,” Schlothauer added. “It’s cool to have people from the community come down to support us as well, not just students.”
Although the Ramblers moved to 2-2 in the conference after this win, Hulse said he is hesitant to say the team has finally found its stride after his team entered MIVA play with a 3-7 record.
“I think what we’ve seen with the league is that it’s just going to be tough,” Hulse said. “I shudder to say that we’ve found our footing until the next one and the next one and the next one. That’s not a lack of confidence, that’s just the reality of the league.”
Ohio State was ranked No. 14 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll last week, but fell out of the Top 15 this week. The Buckeyes still received votes, though, and are now 1-2 in MIVA play.
Next, the Ramblers are scheduled to face off against Ball State University at home Feb. 22. First serve is slated for 7 p.m. on ESPN3.