Despite two players tallying double-digit kills, the Loyola men’s volleyball team (3-8, 0-1) stumbled in its Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) opener with a 3-0 loss against No. 10 Purdue University Fort Wayne.
The Ramblers were led by junior outside hitter Devin Joslyn with 14 kills and seven assists. Redshirt freshman outside hitter Cole Schlothauer added 12 kills.
All three sets were close with Loyola and Purdue Fort Wayne trading the lead multiple times. The Mastodons didn’t take a set by more than two points, but even though the Ramblers put on the pressure, Loyola head coach Mark Hulse said he had different plans for the conference opener.
“I think obviously you want to start conference play 1-0 at a home game, especially against a good team,” Hulse said. “We needed two points to go our way a few different times and it’s [ours], so it’s tough.”
The first set saw Loyola in the lead for a majority of the time. They didn’t lose the lead until Purdue Fort Way tied it up 11-11, but even then they recovered and held on to the set until the very end when the Mastodons turned the tide on a 4-0 scoring run, forcing a Loyola timeout.
Sophomore opposite hitter Luke Denton scored a point and the Ramblers regained confidence, but Purdue Fort Wayne went on another run to this time take the lead. Both teams went back-and-forth hoping to score the match point until Purdue Fort Wayne sealed the deal with a 27-25 win.
The second set was much like the first. The two teams went toe-to-toe with the score tied 10 times throughout the remainder of the set. The Mastodons held onto the lead for a 25-23 win to extend its lead in the match to 2-0.
Loyola came into the third set with some energy, kicking it off with a kill courtesy of Joslyn. He went on to to score four more kills before the end of regulation, which helped him lead the team.
The theme continued with a neck-in-neck score until it seemed like the Mastodons had secured the win. Joslyn, in attempt to pick up the momentum, dove into the team’s bench to save the ball and give the Ramblers a bit of a scoring run. It was successful and the Ramblers cut the Mastodon’s lead to one point.
The Ramblers kept it interesting, tying the game twice in the last minutes. Despite the newfound momentum, Loyola wasn’t able to come on top and dropped the set 28-26 and the game 3-0.
“Some things were just going my way,” Joslyn said. “See ball hit ball kind of thing. Other than that, it’s cool to do it in front of a home crowd and with my teammates. [Cowen] just sent me perfect balls, which is making it easy to put away.”
Coming into the game, Purdue Fort Wayne had a 4-2 record. The Mastodons were preseason ranked second in MIVA play, with Loyola coming in at third. The Ramblers entered play 3-7.
The Ramblers are next scheduled to head on a two-game MIVA road stretch. First up is another Quincy University Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.