CHICAGO (March 20, 2010) – The 12th-ranked Loyola University Chicago men’s volleyball team used double-digit kills from Mike Bunting and Domenic Dewaele and a season-high 12 team service aces to defeat Juniata, 3-0 (30-16, 30-22, 30-18) on Saturday night (March 20) in Alumni Gym. Bunting finished with a match-high 14 kills, while Dewaele added 13 to lead the Ramblers (13-3) past the visiting Eagles (5-10).
“It was good to see us come out strong tonight,” said Loyola head coach Shane Davis. “We had a few tough matches last week, but we were able to put them behind us and take care of business tonight.”
The teams opened the match with back-and-forth play, trading nine points each to begin the first set. Loyola then went on a 9-3 run sparked by back-to-back aces by Mike Morice to move the score to 18-12. The Ramblers only gave up four points after that, closing the set on a 12-4 run after multiple kills from Morice and back-to-back aces by Bunting.
Several Juniata errors helped Loyola take a quick 7-3 lead in the second set, but the Eagles took five of the next seven points to cut the Ramblers’ lead to one at 9-8. Two kills and an ace from Kris Berzins then propelled a 10-4 Loyola run to give the hosts a seven-point lead at 19-12. The teams traded points over the next several series, with LU taking a nine-point lead at 28-19 after another Juniata error. Two aces helped the Eagles cut the deficit to seven, but another Berzins kill closed the set in favor of Loyola before the visitors could come any closer.
The teams swapped four points per side to open the third set, but two more aces from Mike Hutz and multiple kills from Bunting and Dewaele allowed the Ramblers to open up an early nine-point lead at 14-5. Loyola pushed its lead to 10 points at 19-9 before a 6-2 run extended the lead to 14 at 25-11. The Ramblers took their largest lead of the night several points later at 28-12, but Juniata took four straight points to cut it back to 12. Loyola closed out the set and the match two points later on a kill by Brendan Styler.
Hutz finished the match with a team-high 14 digs, while Morice racked up five aces, which tied his career high. Tommy Becker also added 10 digs in the win.
The Ramblers open a busy week next Tuesday (March 23) when they host Lewis at 7 p.m. in Alumni Gym. Loyola will also host George Mason on Friday (March 26) and IPFW on Saturday (March 27) in the team’s final home matches of the regular season.