The No. 2-seeded Loyola men’s volleyball team (20-7, 12-2) defeated No. 7 seed The Ohio State University 3-1 in the first round of the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Tournament Saturday night at Gentile Arena.
The Ramblers, who were ranked No. 10 in the nation heading into the match, were led by senior outside hitter Collin Mahan’s 14 kills and 11 digs — his fifth double-double of the season. Senior middle blocker Paul Narup followed close behind with a career-high 13 kills and senior opposite hitter Dane LeClair tied his career best with 11 digs.
The win is Loyola’s third straight over Ohio State this season after sweeping the first two matchups. Mahan said starting the tournament hot is key because of how competitive the conference is.
“We’ve just been focusing on that scouting report,” Mahan said after the match. “[The coaches] have put together a [great] scouting report and we’ve just stuck to that.”
The first set was all Loyola as the Ramblers led the Buckeyes by as many as 10 points en route to a 25-15 win to take a 1-0 lead in the match. The second set was back-and-forth, as neither team led by more than six. The Buckeyes would go on to win the second set 25-20 to tie the match 1-1.
But the Ramblers came back in the third set, winning the third stanza 25-14 and jump back out in front 2-1. The fourth set was as close as can be as Ohio State and Loyola traded off the first 12 points of the set. Loyola eventually pulled away with a late, 4-1 run to win the set 25-22.
“It was a really tough match,” Loyola head coach Mark Hulse said. “I thought [Ohio State] brought a lot and we kind of had to respond to a few different things. In the first set, we got all over them … it’s easy to catch your breath and they responded in the third set.”
The Ramblers are scheduled to be back in action in the MIVA Tournament semifinals April 17 at Gentile Arena against Purdue University Fort Wayne. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.