CHICAGO – Despite coming within two points of a match win, the IPFW men’s volleyball team was unable to overcome No. 12 Loyola, falling 25-21, 23-25, 25-17, 24-26, 12-15. With the loss, the Mastodons fall to 10-17, 3-12 MIVA (Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association).
Alex Harthaller earned a season-high 18 kills, adding five aces and seven digs. Kyle Fitzgerald hit .308 (6-2-13), with three total blocks. Andrew Sellan had 15 kills, seven digs, four total blocks, and three aces for the ‘Dons.
After going up 23-21 in the fourth set, the Ramblers roared back with three-straight points to take a lead. The Blue and White made sure to briefly stop the run after a Sellan kill. However, the ‘Dons were unable to prevent the Ramblers’ surge late in the fourth set as Loyola would finish 26-24.Both Harthaller and Sellan earned five kills in the fourth set alone.
Looking for their first win over Loyola since February 20, 2013, IPFW came out in the fifth set going toe-to-toe with the two-time defending champion, as the teams were tied at five early on. Loyola would take a 13-8 lead late in the final set, before IPFW earned the next three points. To the dismay of the traveling Mastodon fans, Loyola would take the fifth set 15-12 after hitting 1.000 in the final set.
IPFW started the first set down 3-1, but quickly responded with a 9-3 run to take the lead. Loyola would cut into the deficit as the ‘Dons lead 12-10, but once again IPFW would go on a run with four-straight points. Trying to hold on late in the match, leading 22-19, the Blue and White would take three of the final five points, winning the set 25-21.
The second set went back-and-forth as the teams were tied at 11 midway through. The Ramblers would take a 22-17 lead, but IPFW fought back with a 4-1 run to get within two points. Loyola would eventually take the second set 25-23, hitting .375 during the set.
After going down 4-2 to start the third set, the Mastodons went on a 10-2 run to leapfrog Loyola. With momentum in hand, the ‘Dons continued to fight, earning a 22-16 lead. Loyola would try to get back in the set, but three-straight points from IPFW would finish off the Ramblers, 25-17. The Blue and White hit .355 in the set, highlighted by Harthaller’s eight kills on 11 attempts with no errors.
IPFW wraps up its regular season with a short drive to Romeoville, Illinois, to face the 2015 NCAA Runner-Up, No. 13 Lewis, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.