IPFW Falls to Loyola in MIVA Quarterfinals, 3-1

IPFW Falls to Loyola in MIVA Quarterfinals, 3-1

CHICAGO – A strong defensive effort and 15 kills from Elon Fyfield weren't enough in the MIVA Quarterfinals on Friday, as the #6 seed IPFW Mastodons fell to #3 seed Loyola, 3-1 in Chicago.

IPFW's season comes to an end with the hard-fought loss, as the squad finishes 13-15 overall. Loyola advances to the MIVA Semifinals with the win, and will take on #2 Lewis.

IPFW jumped out aggressively early in the first set, as kills from Fyfield, Corey Frain and Eddie Rivera put the visitors in front 6-3. A Frain kill took the lead to 12-9, but the Ramblers rallied off kills from Mike Bunting and Joe Smalzer to even the frame at 17-17. Two Loyola errors followed, and then E. Rivera and Rob Samp put down a crucial team block to put the Mastodons ahead 20-17. IPFW carried the advantage to set point, when E. Rivera powered a kill to the left corner to hand the 'Dons set one, 25-21.

The teams battled for points to open the second set, before Loyola drew up a 5-1 run to take a 13-9 advantage. IPFW responded with a kill from E. Rivera and fed off a pair of Rambler errors to even the frame at 15-15. Before IPFW could take its first lead of the set, the Ramblers steam rolled ahead with a 6-0 run to move in front 21-15. A late team block from Samp and Fyfield pulled IPFW within four, but late kills from Rambler Dainis Berzins secured the set two win for Loyola, 25-21.

Following the seven-minute intermission, Fyfield along with Albert Klimek gave IPFW a two-point cushion at 6-4. Loyola countered on the next play with a kill, leading to a 6-0 run to move the home team up by four at 10-6. Down by as many as five at 17-12, IPFW stormed back, as a team block from Omar Rivera and Ramon Burgos tied the frame at 19-19. However, the home team finished strong with back-to-back kills and a Bunting spike on set point handed Loyola set three, 25-22.

In the fourth and final set, the Ramblers came out swinging to take a commanding seven-point lead at 10-3. IPFW mustered three-straight points to cut the deficit to four, then pulled within three at 12-9 after Fyfield tallied a trio of kills and teamed up for a block with Samp. The teams traded points until Loyola earned set point at 24-19. Unfortunately on the contest's final play, the Mastodons tagged a service error into the net to clinch the contest for the Ramblers, 3-1

Despite the loss, the Mastodons can hold their heads high after picking up two wins over ranked opponents and finishing in a three-way tie for fourth place in the 2012 MIVA standings.

Head coach Arnie Ball and the 'Dons return a boatload of experience for the 2013 campaign.