Collin Mahan drilled a career-high 19 kills and Loyola University Chicago hit .375 as a team to earn a 25-23, 26-28, 25-20, 25-20 victory over Fort Wayne (4-12, 1-4 MIVA) tonight at Gentile Arena. The No. 10 Ramblers, who move to 8-4 overall and 4-1 in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association with the win, have now won four straight matches at home and five of their last six overall.
How It Happened
Fort Wayne scored three straight points to break a 9-9 tie and open up a 12-9 advantage in the first set. Seemingly in control with a 22-18 lead, the Mastodons were unable to slow Loyola's momentum in a late comeback as the Ramblers tallied seven of the final eight points of the set to secure a 25-23 victory. Mahan (2 kills) and Jeff Jendryk (2 kills, 1 block, 1 ace) came up big for Loyola in that 7-1 run to close out the rally.
Neither team led by more than two points for the majority of set two and the Mastodons held a 20-18 lead before Loyola staged a comeback. Back-to-back kills from Mahan ignited a 4-0 Rambler run that gave the Maroon and Gold a 22-20 lead, but Fort Wayne would rally to post five of the next seven points to seize a 25-24 edge. The resilient Ramblers reclaimed the lead however, thanks to consecutive kills from Ben Plaisted for a 26-25 advantage. But, a Loyola service error, followed by kills from Colton Stone and Graydon Schroeder capped the Mastodons' late rally for a 28-26 win that evened the match at a set apiece.
Loyola came out sluggish in the third set and quickly found itself in an 11-5 hole before righting the ship for an incredible come-from-behind victory. Plaisted strapped the team on his back during a 9-2 run, registering four kills and a block, as the Ramblers grabbed hold of a 14-13 lead. With the score knotted up at 16, he accounted for Loyola's next three points on kills as part of a 3-1 spurt that pushed the Ramblers back ahead, 19-17, and they would never look back en route to a 25-20 victory.
A 7-2 run in the fourth set helped Loyola break a 4-4 stalemate for an 11-6 advantage. Fort Wayne fought back and with three straight tallies sliced the Ramblers' lead to 11-9 before Plaisted once again provided a lift with a kill and an assisted block for some much-needed breathing room as it rolled to a 25-20 win.
Inside The Box Score
- Mahan had his best performance in a Loyola uniform, tallying a career-best 19 kills, to go with eight digs, while hitting a robust .630 (19-2-27). His previous career high for kills was 14 set last April at Grand Canyon.
- Plaisted finished with a season-high 17 kills, eight digs and three blocks, while Jendryk added 11 kills and seven blocks.
- Ian Cowen equaled a season high with 50 assists.
- Pelegrin Vargas led Fort Wayne with 16 kills.
Loyola hosts No. 11 Ball State Saturday (Feb. 18) at 7 p.m.