Despite Record Attendance, Ramblers Lose to No. 1 UCLA

Redshirt third-year outside hitter Parker Van Buren and first-year outside hitter Jake Read had eight kills each.

No. 10 Loyola men’s volleyball team fell to No. 1 UCLA Jan. 13 in three straight sets. The loss marked their fourth in the row, leaving the Ramblers 1-5 overall. 

Despite the loss, the Ramblers made history playing in front of a crowd of 3,334 — the record for a regular season men’s volleyball match at Loyola. 

Redshirt third-year outside hitter Parker Van Buren and first-year outside hitter Jake Read led Loyola in kills with 8 each. First-year setter Cole Schobel led in assists with 23 and redshirt third-year libero Matt Oakley helped the team with his 7 digs. 

The game opened with a kill by UCLA second-year outside hitter Cooper Robinson. Loyola took their first lead at 2-1 following a service ace by Schobel. Both teams exchanged points back-and-forth between kills and service errors, remaining within two points of each other until a Van Buren service ace put the Ramblers up 7-4. 

Redshirt first-year opposite hitter Miller Trubey and second-year setter Ryan McElligott subbed in for the Ramblers down 18-15. McElligott served to begin a sequence that ended with a kill by UCLA fourth-year outside hitter Ethan Champlin, increasing the Bruin lead to five points. McElligott went on to assist Trubey and first-year middle blocker Aidan Klein in two kills, cutting the Bruin lead to three with a score of 22-19. 

The first set went to the Bruins 25-20 following a Rambler attack error by fourth-year middle blocker Jimmy Meinhart.

The Bruins started the second set with a 2-0 run off. Back-to-back kills by Robinson and redshirt fourth-year middle blocker Merrick McHenry. The Ramblers answered back with a 3-0 run with back-to-back kills and a service ace from first-year outside hitter Daniel Fabikovic.

The Ramblers held a steady lead until a block by McHenry and third-year Bruin opposite hitter David Ido. Trailing for the first time this set at 10-9,  Loyola quickly made it a tie game again with a kill by Van Buren from Schobel. 

The Ramblers and Bruins continued to exchange points until the Bruins were able to slip away from the Ramblers, scoring their last five points with no response from the Loyola squad. A service ace by McHenry secured the second set for the Bruins, 25-19. 

In the final set, the Ramblers started on top with a 1-0 lead over the Bruins following an attack error by Robinson. A serve by UCLA’s McHenry led to a kill by Fabikovic, tying the game at two. 

After both teams exchanged attack errors and blocks, the score was tied yet again at 11. The Ramblers took the first lead out of the tie after a service error by McHenry.

Robinson got another kill following a serve from Fabikovic who would go on to serve himself for UCLA four times in a row, leading the Bruins back to a one-point lead at 16-15. 

Ido and Fabikovic would each hit kills for their teams in two back-and-forth exchanges which kept the Ramblers within one point of the Bruins. 

The last point for Loyola would come from an attack error by UCLA’s Champlin, leaving the score tied at 21. Once again, the Bruins held the Ramblers scoreless for the remaining 4 points they needed to secure the game, ending the game at 25-21. Ido led the Bruins in kills at 12 and Champlin followed with 10 kills of his own. 

Following the match, head coach John Hawks noted the record-breaking amount of people in attendance at Gentile Arena.

“It was energizing for all of us,” Hawks said. “I haven’t seen this many people in here in a long long time, so I’m stoked, the show-out and everyone coming out and supporting us.”

Hawks also said the team knew the first six games would be tough matchups, but the team has improved and will continue to adapt and get better.  

“That’s the level we need to be at consistently,” Hawks said. “We play there in moments and in spurts and at times. We’ve had some sets where we do it, we just haven’t been able to do it for a whole match yet.”

The Ramblers return to Gentile Feb 9. against the Ohio State Buckeyes in their MIVA home opener. The game is set to start at 7 p.m.

Featured image by Allison Treanor | The Loyola Phoenix

Amara Bullard

Amara Bullard