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volleyball-men-nc flag | February 21, 2014

Lewis' rally falls short against IPFW

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Powered by 18 kills from Eddie Rivera and 16 from Andrew Sellan, IPFW beat No. 10 Lewis in a thrilling five-set match on Thursday night inside the Gates Sports Center.

Reigning MIVA Offensive Player of the Week Bryan Saunders chipped in 13 kills for the 'Dons while Ramon Burgos and Nick Smalter added nine apiece. Omar Rivera handed out a season-best 57 assists and Sellan finished with three aces.

The Mastodons jumped on the Flyers early on, claiming the first two sets to take a commanding lead. The high-powered IPFW offense punished the Lewis defense with 18 and 19 kills, respectively, in the first two frames while operating at a .554 clip.

Lewis (9-4, 1-2 MIVA), who entered the match having won eight of its past nine matches, would not go down though without a fight.

The Flyers held off the Mastodons in the third stanza to force a fourth set where the 'Dons struggled to get anything going offensively. IPFW dug itself into a big hole early in the frame, falling behind 12-5, and were never able to overcome the deficit. The Mastodons cut Lewis' lead to four, 15-11, after back-to-back kills by Omar Rivera and Saunders, but another big run by the Flyers would send the match to a deciding fifth set.

The two squads went back and forth to start the final set until a 3-1 run by Lewis gave the Flyers a 9-7 advantage. However, the Mastodons would rally back, fueled by four kills from Sellan, to capture their fifth consecutive victory.

Eddie Rivera added a season-high 14 digs to his 18 kills to register his third double-double of the year. Luis Bertran also picked up double figure digs with 11. Smalter and Saunders made a big impact at the net recording five and four blocks, respectively.

No. 1 Loyola Chicago 3, No. 13 Ball State 1

MUNCIE, Ind. -- Joe Smalzer ripped a match-high 17 kills and Thomas Jaeschke added 14 as Loyola Chicago knocked off Ball State 3-1 (25-19, 25-21, 20-25, 25-17) at Worthen Arena. The Ramblers improve to 12-1, 5-0 MIVA with their 10th consecutive win while the Cardinals slip to 7-4, 3-1 after their first conference loss.

Loyola got off to a good start, taking an early 4-1 lead on a Smalzer ace. Ball State was within two on a Larry Wrather ace but a block from Cody Caldwell and Owen McAndrews helped Loyola open up a five-point advantage, 11-6. A Ball State error later made it a 14-8 lead but the Cardinals began to chip away and, eventually, pulled within three after a Kevin Owens kill. However, Smalzer answered with back-to-back kills to give Loyola some breathing room and a Nick Olson kill closed out the opening set, 25-19. Loyola came out of the gates strong, hitting .407 in the set and getting four kills apiece from Smalzer and Jaeschke.

The home team jumped out to an early 5-2 lead in the second set before Loyola settled in. A Ball State error made it a 6-6 game but Loyola did not take its first lead until later, grabbing a 9-8 advantage on a McAndrews/Jaeschke block. The teams battled back-and-forth through the middle stages of the set and it was the Ramblers that were able to gain an opening, taking a 20-18 lead on a McAndrews kill and a BSU error. Loyola was able to side-out to 23-21 before an Olson kill and a Cardinal error gave the Ramblers a 25-21 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.

Ball State jumped out to a 14-11 lead in the third set on a Graham McIlvaine ace and the Ramblers struggled to string points together and the teams traded points to 22-19. A block and a Matt Leske ace gave the Cardinals a couple of set points and they cashed in the second one to send the match to a fourth set after a 25-20 win.

A Smalzer kill got the Ramblers off to a good start in the fourth set and another kill from the Chicago native coupled with a Ball State error gave the visitors an 11-8 lead midway through the set. A block from Jaeschke and McAndrews and a solo stuff from Smalzer gave Loyola a six-point edge (17-11) and the guests held a 20-12 lead after McAndrews teamed up with Dainis Berzins for yet another block. Loyola was able to side-out the rest of the way, with McAndrews providing the exclamation point with his 11th kill of the match.

Loyola finished the match hitting .369 while the Ramblers' defense held Ball State to a .225 efficiency.

No. 8 USC 3, No. 11 Hawaii 1

LOS ANGELES -- Tanner Jansen had 20 kills while hitting .395 and Lucas Yoder added 18 kills with a .371 hitting percentage to lead No. 8 ranked USC to a 25-17, 15-25, 25-14, 25-22 win against No. 11 Hawaii in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match on Thursday.

USC improved to 8-5 overall and 7-5 in the MPSF. The Rainbow Warriors dropped to 9-5 overall and 7-4 in the MPSF.

In Thursday's victory, USC hit .328 overall to Hawaii's .218 and the Trojans had more blocks, 13.5 to 7.0.

Micah Christenson and Henry Cassiday, who joined Maddison McKibbin as 3 Hawaii natives in the USC starting lineup, had 18 and 13 digs, respectively. Christenson also had a match-best 6 blocks.

For Hawaii, Brook Sedore had 14 kills, Sinisa Zarkovic had 13 kills and 11 digs and Joby Ramos had 12 digs and 2 aces.

USC jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead in the first set and was never threatened while hitting .480 and getting 5.0 blocks and 13 digs. The tables turned in the second set as Hawaii used a 6-0 run to build a 14-6 lead and USC could never catch up as the Rainbow Warriors notched 4.0 blocks and 3 aces. USC regained control in the third set with a 7-0 run that