Men’s Volleyball Sweeps Kentucky State

The Ramblers swept the Thorobreds in three sets Jan 19, giving them a 2-5 record.

With students back from winter break, The Pack — Gentile Arena’s student section — returned to watch the Loyola men’s volleyball team. After a tough opening six matches, the Ramblers swept the Kentucky State Thorobreds in three sets Jan 19, giving them a 2-5 record.

Loyola opened the match ahead by two after an opening kill by second-year middle blocker Brad Bell and an attack error from KSU.

Loyola went on a 6-1 run off two aces from redshirt first-year opposite hitter Miller Trubey, a kill by redshirt fourth-year Jack Yentz and an error from KSU, which led to a 9-4 score in Loyola’s favor.

The Thorobreds’ momentum surged after two back-to-back kills and an attack error by Loyola third-year Nicodemus Meyer. A quick turnaround for the Ramblers began to extend their lead with a 6-1 scoring run after kills from Bell and Yentz, followed by two KSU service errors and another attack error. Capitalizing on these blunders, redshirt first-year Bryce Robbins backhanded a kill, tallying the 16-8 Loyola score.

“The depth on this team, it’s great,” Meyer said after the game. “We have multiple guys coming off the bench and proving themselves when they come in playing great minutes.” 

The Ramblers ran into trouble trying to close out set one. As Loyola grabbed a set point at 24-12, two sloppy attack errors gave KSU life. A kill from Robbins assisted by second-year setter Ryan McElligott put away the set for Loyola 25-14.

The opening exchange of set two went point-for-point until an ace from Bell kickstarted some momentum for the Ramblers at 4-3.

Following the opening play, a 9-6 score was reached in an even exchange of points across both teams. A kill from Robbins then sent the Thorobreds into a timeout. Following the play break, the Ramblers broke off on a 7-1 run following three attacking mistakes from KSU. A kill from Robbins was then answered by third-year Monty Peterson of the Thorobreds. 

An attack error from KSU gave the Ramblers back the serve, which McElligott aced. Bell hit another kill and left the Ramblers ahead 17-8. The Ramblers won the set 25-13 off a quick finish as the Thorobreds fell apart offensively with five consecutive errors.

Loyola hopped on the scoreboard first in set three, with Bell setting the tone with a powerful opening kill. Three attacking errors from KSU led to back-to-back aces for McElligott, sending the Thorobreds into a timeout quickly down 7-0.

Loyola went on a 3-0 run after a KSU service error with  highlight plays from Rambler fourth-year outside hitter Josh Gottlieb — an ace and a kill — led to a second timeout for the Thorobreds at 14-3.

Not much came from KSU after this as they struggled with building attacks. To win the match, Loyola third-year outside hitter Evan Markworth scored match points with a kill. A big block assist from the two middles— redshirt third-year Ben Montplasir and Markworth— ended the match with a dominating third set 25-10.

Head coach John Hawks commented on his players performance and the adversity they had faced earlier in the season.

“Tonight, these guys got an opportunity to go out there and play,” Hawks said. “They deserve it more than anybody knows. It’s not a thing where we’re just doing them a favor. They deserve those minutes and I love coaching these guys.”

The Ramblers finished the match with 53 attacks on 11 aces, with Bell, Meyer and Yentz finishing the match with a hitting percentage of over .700%.

Loyola returns to Gentile to host the Ohio State University Buckeyes Feb. 6, with broadcast information yet to be announced.

Featured image by Ryan Pittman | The Phoenix

Christopher J. Henry

Christopher J. Henry