Men’s Volleyball Secures Double Sweep Weekend With Victory Over Merrimack

The Ramblers controlled the match, allowing only two ties and one lead change.

The Loyola men’s volleyball team swept the Merrimack College Warriors in three sets Jan. 20 in Gentile Arena. Coming off a previous sweep of Kentucky State University, the Ramblers controlled the match, allowing only two ties and one lead change.

Third-year middle blocker Nicodemus Meyer started the night by dropping a kill over the middle followed by an ace from first-year setter Cole Schobel. The Warriors settled for their first timeout at a 9-2 set after the Ramblers grabbed a 6-0 scoring run through a triple ace sequence from first-year outside hitter Jake Read. 

The Warriors followed the timeout with a three-point sequence to put up eight points via a service ace and a pair of Rambler attack errors, putting set one at 12-8. Play continued as Loyola fell out of their rhythm. 

Read gave the Ramblers point 19 with his fifth service ace of the set, but the Warriors responded by forcing two Loyola missed blocks over the middle. A kill from first-year Warrior outside hitter Isaiah Vogel forced a Loyola timeout at 19-15. 

“As a freshman, I’m kind of new to this now, and so I’m getting acclimated with the older guys,” Read said. “They help me with their experience. I feel good with any guy out there with all my teammates giving us freshmen a great boost of confidence”

Set one continued to a competitive close until a putback kill from first-year outside hitter Daniel Fabikovic sent Merrimack into their final timeout of the set down 22-15. Fabikovic’s sixth reception resulted in another kill, setting up Schobel to score set point for Loyola with a kill of his own. Then, in the final play, a solo block from Read gave Loyola the first set 25-17. 

Set two began evenly between the Warriors and Ramblers. Schobel grabbed a second service ace early. Merrimack struggled to return a powerful Loyola serve, leading them into a timeout down 12-6 as Loyola pulled momentum into a three-point scoring run. Out of the timeout, more trouble arose for the Warriors as Schobel tabbed another service ace and added to Loyola’s lead by seven.

Redshirt third-year outside hitter Parker Van Buren gave Loyola an 18-12 lead off a quick kill through the middle. Still, the Warriors got within four, picking up some late-game momentum with three kills by first-year outside hitters Tristan Miller and Kai Vogel. The Ramblers challenged an 18-15 point call as Merrimack dropped a fourth unanswered kill. 

In the second set, Loyola managed to hold on thanks to a set point secured at 24-19 by Meyer’s kill and a Merrimack side service error. The Ramblers went ahead in a close 25-19 second set.

A quick lead was established for Loyola in set three, as Schobel hitting .571% kills on the night grabbed another ace on a brief 4-0 start. Continuing this, Van Buren hit an ace of his own, giving Loyola a steady lead at 11-4. Merrimack found themselves within seven after a kill from Vogel of the Warriors, which proved costly for the Ramblers trying to remain ahead.

Nonetheless, a valiant effort from the Warriors ended their night behind by eight points. Loyola claimed victory, sweeping in three and winning the third set  25-16.

After the game, Loyola head coach John Hawks discussed the team’s ability to overcome momentum shifts early in the match.

“They dug a lot of balls tonight and forced us to keep playing and be resilient,” Hawks said. “Credits to them for playing hard, but our guys played at a consistent level tonight.”

The Ramblers return to Gentile Arena Feb 9 at 5p.m., hosting The Ohio State University Buckeyes. Broadcast information is yet to be announced.

Featured image by Ryan Pittman | The Phoenix

Christopher J. Henry

Christopher J. Henry