By: Luke Drase
After losing to New Trier twice in their past three matches, Loyola got a much needed victory, defeating Evanston 23-25, 25-19, 25-13.
The Ramblers didn’t get off to the best of starts. After leading Evanston 17-14 in the opening set, Loyola let the game slip through their fingers as the Evanston attack powered their way through the Loyola defense, finishing off the set with a ferocious kill from middle blocker Maggie Sereika.
That point was one of the last times the Evanston offense could get anything to going. After a back and forth start to the second set, Loyola clung to a slim, 5-4 lead.
Loyola then proceeded to open up the flood gates, picking up their back row play and net front presence to guide them to a comfortable 25-19 win.
“I think when out girls just played fundamental, defense, serve receive volleyball and take a little time to trust yourself and your teammates, wonderful things happen on your side,” said Loyola head coach Mark Chang.
“Our girls were set up really well defensively. Early on in the game there were balls we usually get to, that we weren’t getting to. But once we had a bit of a conversation about it, we just started to let go of some of those nerves and it worked out for us.”
The final set resembled the second in which the Ramblers back row and block did not allow Evanston to get into any sort of offensive rhythm.
Evanston did manage to cut the lead all the way down to two points at 14-12 thanks to aggressive serving by Holly Desmond, but Loyola then proceeded to finish off the match on an 11-1 scoring run.
When coach Chang was asked if his team’s drastic improvement over the three sets was due to a change in mindset he said: “Absolutely, hands down, without a doubt. Mindset is our starting place and sometimes we forget that and mistakes result.”
Elizabeth Ford led the Loyola block party with an incredible six stuff blocks on the night. Mary Kate Lopez added four blocks to the Ramblers tally to go along with her six kills and Sammy Downey added an additional five kills and two blocks to the total.
Loyola will host Montini in their next match while Evanston will open up conference play against Maine South on Tuesday.