No. 15 Loyola-Chicago Opens Season with Sweep of Ball State
Chicago, Ill. - No. 15 Loyola University Chicago (1-0, 1-0 MIVA) swept Ball State University (1-4, 1-1 MIVA) 3-0 (30-24, 30-26, 30-26) in its season opener Saturday night at Alumni Gym. Loyola's combined hitting percentage of .336 propelled the Ramblers to their eighth consecutive season-opening victory.
In game one, Ball State got on the board first, taking a 2-1 lead, but the Ramblers quickly stormed back. With senior Ian Anderson serving, Loyola jumped out in front of the Cardinals 7-4. Anderson's three consecutive kills put the Ramblers up 22-17. Loyola continued to dominate as it hit .500 as a team in the first game and eventually went on to take game one, 30-24.
The Ramblers trailed early on in game two, but were able to come from behind as junior outside hitter Joe Guntli hit .857 with six kills in game two. Loyola claimed the lead for the first time in game two on a kill from redshirt freshman Mike Hutz that put the Ramblers on top 20-19. A kill by Anderson gave the Ramblers a 2-0 lead heading into intermission.
Game three was a back and forth affair with 11 ties and six lead changes. With the game knotted at 25, redshirt freshman Daniel Leis put the Ramblers ahead for good with his fourth kill of the night giving Loyola a 26-25 advantage. Anderson had a pair of kills to put the Ramblers up 29-26, as Hutz's service ace sealed the game and match for the Ramblers.
Sophomore Kris Berzins lead the Ramblers with 10 digs and a career-high 18 kills while hitting .342. Guntli chipped in 10 kills and five digs, while Hutz had 49 assists and seven digs.
The Ramblers return to action on Friday, January 18 when they battle MIVA foe Quincy on the road. First-serve is set for 7 p.m.
Article courtesy of Loyola-Chicago athletics.