The game was the first of two the Ramblers played against the University of Rhode Island.
Loyola Women’s Volleyball Sets Win Record with Sweep Against Rhode Island
The Loyola women’s volleyball team, currently ranked second in the Atlantic-10 Conference, swept the University of Rhode Island Friday night, reaching a new program record with their 15th straight win.
Before the match, fourth-year right side Emily Banitt was honored for making her 1,000th kill, along with team managers who will be graduating out of the program.
The Ramblers pushed in the first set, with fourth-year outside hitter Karlie McNabb racking up her first two kills immediately. Third-year setter Bree Borum made the team’s first service error of the night, giving the Rams their first point at 2-1.
McNabb’s serve resulted in a kill by Rhode Island’s third-year outside hitter Emma Vente which was followed directly by a kill by fifth-year outside hitter Addie Barnes.
Each team scored at a back-and-forth pace with an attempted block from the Ramblers and a service error from Vente. Fourth-year middle blocker and right side Anna Feldkamp tapped the ball over the net for her first kill.
Before the Rams called a time out, a McNabb serve rallied before the ball rolled across the top of the net, landing on the Rhode Island side and just missing a save by second-year outside hitter Aerin Bowman.
The alternating points continued, including a voided point off of a serve from Rhode Island’s first-year Catalina Hendricks which ultimately resulted in a kill from Banitt.
Borum kept the team ahead, making two diving saves in separate serves going into a Rhode Island timeout at 18-11.
Barnes and McNabb showcased their chemistry and kept the ball from touching the court before McNabb tipped it over the net.
The last point followed a service error from McNabb when second-year middle blocker Ella Ramsay set the ball over onto the Rams’ side, securing the set 25-17.
Set two started tied at one after attack errors from McNabb and second-year libero Ryleigh Powers.
The McNabb-Barnes duo struck again after three of six straight McNabb serves ended with kills from Barnes.
A call was challenged by Rhode Island after an attack error by Vente. The call stood, making the score 8-2 in favor of Loyola.
Barnes took back-to-back spikes off of a serve from graduate outside hitter Maddie Norris. Barnes would go on to serve three times before a timeout, resulting in an out-of-bounds spike by third-year outside hitter Andrea Owens, a kill by Borum and a ball handling error by Norris.
At 13-4, Barnes served five more times with another attack error from Norris, two aces and an attack error from Owens before a service error gave her a break at 17-5.
Two service errors from third-year right side Esma Ajanovic and first-year outside hitter Madi Disu occurred before the Ramblers substituted in multiple rookie team members.
First-year Olivia Gardner finished the second set with a kill and a block while first-year setter Kylie Schulze’s serve created a steady rally that resulted in a kill by Vente.
Head coach Amanda Berkley said the future of the program shined as the newer members played with notable confidence.
“They seemed really composed when they went in there,” Berkley said. “Sometimes freshman, when they get in matches they can get nervous and I thought they did a good job of being composed. Especially since there were some weird plays.”
The set ended off of a kill from Feldkamp at 25-10, putting the Ramblers up by two.
The third set started off similar to the others with the Ramblers pulling ahead quickly. Kills by Borum, Banitt, graduate middle blocker Taylor Venuto and Feldkamp, along with attack errors from Rhode Island’s side, put the Ramblers above 11-4 at the timeout.
The Rams struggled to get points between their timeouts, with attack errors from Disu and Vente while Borum went on a serving streak that increased the Ramblers’ lead by seven.
First-year Kaley Board marked her first kill alongside Feldkamp and Banitt to inch Loyola closer to 25.
The winning point was credited to Disu as she hit the ball out of bounds, securing the three set sweep for the Ramblers at 25-13.
After the match, Berkley commented on the team’s confidence going into the conference tournament.
“Every match we can get a little bit better and I think this was a really sound match for us,” Berkley said. “We are excited to get to the conference tournament, but we got one more match tomorrow, and I’m excited for that one.”
After playing Rhode Island the following Day, the Ramblers will next be seen at the Atlantic-10 Conference tournament starting Friday Nov. 17-19, with a bye in the first round which can be streamed on ESPN+.
Featured image by Holden Green / The Phoenix