PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Loyola Chicago swept UC Irvine (25-22, 25-19, 25-17) on Thursday night to advance to the NCAA championship match for the second consecutive year. The Ramblers outhit the second-seeded Anteaters .312 to .140 while racking up 10.5 total team blocks to improve to 27-2 on the season. UC Irvine's season comes to an end with a 28-5 record.
The two teams traded points out of the timeout until Loyola scored three unanswered, including a kill from Jaeschke and a Peter Hutz service ace, to tie the set at 11-11. The teams then battled back-and-forth before Loyola put together a 3-0 run, an Anteater error followed by a kill from Hutz and a Jendryk service ace, to take a 20-17 lead. After two kills apiece from Jaeschke and Gevis, a Caldwell kill ended the set at 25-20, giving the Ramblers the overall 1-0 lead.
The second set began with the two teams trading points before back-to-back blocks from Jaeschke and Olson gave Loyola a 7-5 lead. The teams then battled back-and-forth, with the Ramblers racking up five kills and two blocks, until Loyola scored three unanswered behind a UC Irvine error, a shared block from Olson and Caldwell and a Jaeschke service ace to take an 18-15 lead and force an Anteater timeout.
Loyola maintained the steady lead before Trevor Novotny entered the game and fired a service ace to up the score to 23-18 and force UC Irvine to call its second and final timeout. Jaeschke gave the Ramblers a 24-19 advantage with a kill before a shared block by Hutz and Olson ended the set, 25-19. The Ramblers racked up seven blocks during the set en route to holding the Anteaters to a .031 hitting percentage.
Loyola took a 10-6 lead to begin the third set, with nine points coming from UC Irvine errors. Hutz and Jaeschke then fired back-to-back kills before a Hutz service ace and a shared block from Olson and Gevis upped the Rambler lead to 14-7.
The Ramblers continued to build on the lead on a kill and a service ace from Jaeschke when three straight kills, including back-to-back shots from Jendryk, made the score 19-10 and forced an Anteater timeout. A kill from Caldwell ultimately ended the set at 25-17, giving the Ramblers the three-set sweep.
Jaeschke and Gevis lead the Ramblers with nine kills apiece, while Olson added three kills to go along with a season-high seven blocks