(Photo by BYU Photo)
CHICAGO – No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball fell in four sets (25-20, 25-22, 22-25, 33-31) at No. 11 Loyola-Chicago Saturday night at Gentile Arena.
“Tonight was an exciting match to be a part of,” BYU head coach Shawn Olmstead said. “I was happy with our fight and effort. We learned a lot this weekend about ourselves, and we need to make sure we work on those things each day.”
Ben Patch led the Cougars with a match-high 25 kills on a .333 clip in addition to adding eight digs. Price Jarman added four blocks while Mitchel Worthington chipped in eight digs. Leo Durkin contributed 51 assists and Jake Langlois had 14 kills.
Back-to-back Langlois service aces helped BYU (1-1) take a 7-5 lead against Loyola-Chicago (2-1) to start the first set. The Ramblers came storming back, however, going up 14-11 after an 8-2 run, forcing Olmstead to take a timeout. The Cougars rallied after the break with a 6-1 run to retake the advantage at 17-15. Loyola-Chicago then retook the lead at 21-19 after a 6-2 rally. The Ramblers scored the final five points to take the set 25-20.
A Patch kill and ace helped BYU take an 8-5 lead to begin the second set. The Cougars struggled offensively from there, as Loyola-Chicago strung together eight-straight points en route to a 16-10 advantage. BYU then found a rhythm, cutting the lead to one, 19-18, after kills from Storm Fa’agata-Tufuga and Jarman which was followed by a Joseph Grosh ace. The Cougars evened the score at 20-all but couldn’t continue to rally down the stretch as the Ramblers took a 2-0 lead with a 25-22 set two win.
Loyola-Chicago took the first three points of the third set after consecutive aces. A Patch kill knotted up the score at 6-6 and a Brenden Sander kill kept his team within one, down 11-10. A Durkin kill tied things up again at 14 apiece, but the Ramblers retook a three-point lead at 18-15. Another Grosh ace tied the set at 19-all, forcing a Loyola-Chicago timeout. BYU took its first lead of the set at 21-20 following a Patch kill. The Cougars then took the set 25-22 on a Jarman ace.
Another pair of Langlois aces helped BYU take a 5-4 advantage to start the fourth set. From there, the Ramblers slowly pushed their way to a 14-11 lead. A Durkin ace capped off a 4-1 Cougar run, tying the set at 15 apiece. The teams remained neck-to-neck to the end as consecutive Patch kills gave BYU set point at 24-23. Loyola-Chicago scored the next two points to get set point at 25-24 before ultimately taking it 33-31 in extended play to end the match.
The Cougars return to Utah for the home opener next, taking on McKendree Thursday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m. MST. The match will be streamed live on TheW.tv. Links to live stats can be found on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.