Sept. 18, 2010
CHICAGO - Sophomore Diana Schulte continued her torrid weekend with a match-high 21 kills but Wright State racked up 13 service aces to a 3-1 (25-22, 15-25, 30-28, 25-22) win over Loyola this afternoon at Alumni Gym. With the loss, the Ramblers (6-6, 0-2 Horizon) dropped their first two conference home matches for the first time since 1996 while the Raiders (6-7, 1-1) salvage a split on the opening weekend of conference play.
Coming off a long five-set match last night, Loyola came out strong, opening a 6-2 lead on a Mallory Curran/Natalie Fiore block. Wright State was able to get back into it and pulled even at 8-8 after two Loyola errors. A Brittany Waddell service ace gave WSU a 14-10 lead, forcing Loyola to play catch-up from there. The Ramblers were able to get within three (18-15) on a Wright State service error but the Raiders kept pushing, earning a game point (24-21) after a Jessica Woods kill. Schulte kept the Ramblers alive but a Sandifer kill closed out a lethargic opening set that saw the home team hit .000 (7-7-33).
As out of sync as Loyola was in the opening set, the Ramblers pulled things together in a terrific second frame. A Schulte kill gave the Ramblers a quick 5-1 lead and they opened it up to 11-5 on a Colleen Francis kill. Wright State was able to hang around and eventually pulled within a pair (16-14) after two Sandifer kills. However, a Schulte kill gave Loyola service and Melissa Hastings fired two aces in an 8-0 run that took the Ramblers to the brink with a 24-14 lead. After a service error, it was Schulte again, hammering her seventh kill of the set to even the match heading to intermission. Loyola was hitting on all cylinders in the set, drilling 18 kills without an error for a .500 efficiency (18-0-36).
The pivotal third set was close throughout and Wright State was able to maintain a slight lead through the majority of the stanza. A Molly Dolson ace pushed WSU's lead to four (21-17) before Loyola rallied. Candice Carajohn teamed up with Francis and then Hastings for two big blocks as LU pulled even at 22. A Schulte kill gave the Ramblers first crack at the set (24-23) but a service error killed that chance. Loyola had two more chances to close it out but were rebuffed each time. A Heidi Splinter kill gave Wright State its third chance with a 29-28 lead and Dolson wrapped it up, firing her third ace of the set to cap a 30-28 win.
Staggered, Loyola fell behind 8-3 early in the fourth set and never really recovered. A Natalie Fiore kill pulled the hosts within three (15-12) midway through the frame and the Ramblers rallied again late after falling behind 21-17. Schulte followed a WSU error with two kills to make it 21-20 before Sandifer was finally able to side-out for Wright State. After a LU error, Jessica Woods served up another ace to send the Raiders to match point where, after two LU blocks kept it alive, Sandifer notched her 15th kill of the day to end the match.
Loyola outhit Wright State, .237-.160, for the match and outblocked its visitors by a 12-4 count. However, the 13 aces proved to be critical as Wright State earned the victory.
Schulte, who fired a career-high 23 kills last night, nearly matched that total today, finishing with 21 kills at a .422 efficiency (21-2-45). Francis notched 10 of her 15 kills over the final two sets and she added 14 digs for her fourth double-double of the season.
Loyola has the week off to prepare for a trip to UIC next Saturday (Sept. 25) afternoon. First serve is scheduled for 4 p.m.