Struggling to build on recent offensive success, the Ohio State men’s volleyball team was inefficient, error-prone and out-blocked in a straight-set defeat to No. 11 Loyola Chicago Friday in Chicago.
The loss brings the Buckeyes (8-17, 3-8 MIVA) closer to locking up the seventh seed in the conference tournament, while Loyola Chicago (16-7, 9-2 MIVA) remains entrenched in a battle for the top seed with No. 8 Lewis.
The Buckeyes hit at a meager .144 clip on the night, managing 30 kills and five aces while the Ramblers’ hit .329 with 33 kills and eight aces.
Of the 63 total kills, 30 came in the third and final set.
The Buckeyes came out swinging in the third set, taking a 7-1 lead off of four kills by sophomore outside hitter Jake Hanes and three combined aces by senior setter Sanil Thomas and junior outside hitter Reese Devilbiss.
Two five-point runs helped Loyola Chicago back into the set, giving the Ramblers a 14-13 lead, but the Buckeyes used three kills and an attack error to tie the set at 17.
The Ramblers took control down the stretch, using two kills by senior outside hitter Will Tischler and an ace by senior opposite hitter and setter Dane LeClair to open up a three-point margin before LeClair hammered home a final kill, ending the set 25-22, and giving Loyola Chicago the 3-0 match victory.
Tischler led the Ramblers with 11 kills, adding an ace, four digs and two blocks. LeClair finished with six kills, two aces, 10 digs and three blocks.
Hanes paced the Buckeyes with 17 kills, providing six digs in support. Defensively, redshirt senior libero Aaron Samarin led the team with 10 digs, also contributing three assists.
Kills by LeClair and senior middle blocker Paul Narup and an ace by senior outside hitter Collin Mahan helped Loyola Chicago storm out to an early 6-2 lead. The Buckeyes used two kills and an ace by Devilbiss and three kills by Hanes to try to cut into the Ramblers’ lead to no avail, but Loyola Chicago led by eight at set point, 24-16.
Backed against the wall, the Buckeyes mounted a comeback, rattling off five straight points courtesy of three Loyola Chicago errors and two Hanes kills to move within three before a kill by LeClair sealed a first set win for the Ramblers, 25-21.
Loyola Chicago finished with 20 total errors, seven attack and 13 service, while Ohio State totaled 33 errors, 17 attack and 16 service.
With the second set tied at nine, eight Ohio State errors helped the Ramblers go on a tear with three different scoring runs of three, five and five points, the last of which won them the set, 25-14.
Despite just seven kills, Loyola Chicago used three kills and three blocks to dominate the second set.
The Ramblers finished the match with eight blocks, while the Buckeyes did not record a block.
Ohio State will face No. 8 Lewis at 8 p.m. Saturday in Romeoville, Illinois.