The Loyola University Ramblers defeated the University of California - Irvine Anteaters 3-0 in a one-sided match held at the Maples Pavilion at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.
The Ramblers won 25-22 25-19 25-17 in three sets, and never really lost control for more than a few points. Imposing power and consistency against the Anteater's sloppy play, Loyola will be returning to the national final for a second consecutive year.
Despite a show of heart and a strong showing from Huntington Beach, California native Zack La Cavera—could not contain the consistent serving, blocking and attacking from the Chicago-based University.
In the first set, sloppy play gave Irvine an early lead, but Loyola’s power proved too much for Irvine, who were outmatched in weight and size.
In the second, Irvine caught up from an early deficit, but a pair of service aces from #3 Wisconsin native Trevor Novotny stopped any chance of a comeback.
Lead by 6’10” Junior Nicholas Olson (7 blocks) and AVCA Player of the Year Thomas Jaeschke (9 kills, 3 blocks), Loyola owned the Southern California team at the net and on the baseline, consistently forcing passers off balance.
Hitting errors also dogged Irvine, as they finished with 23 errors, more than double Loyola’s 11.
Loyola’s win will make this year’s national final an “all-East” matchup in a sport traditionally dominated by west coast teams. Irvine were the only California representative of this year’s 6 competitors. For the first time in history, the NCAA men's volleyball final will not feature a
The Ramblers will play the winner of Penn State and Lewis University on Saturday.