MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Loyola University Maryland pushed both UMBC and Robert Morris University to four sets on Saturday in its first day of the 2015 regular-season, but both the Retrievers and host Colonials came away with four-set wins in the Robert Morris Invitational.
The Greyhounds opened the tournament on a strong note, holding a 29-28 in the opening frame against UMBC after a Stacey Kazalas kill, but the Retrievers sided out with a Makenzie Morgen kill and a block by Krystal Williams and Claudia Lopez to take a 30-29 advantage.
Loyola held off set point with a Molly Werts kill, but UMBC then finished off the first set, 32-30, with a pair of points via a kill and an ace.
The Greyhounds started the second set with a small lead and pushed it to four, 11-7, with the help of a UMBC attacking miscue, but the Retrievers then cut it to two on a pair of occasions. Werts and Kazalas had back-to-back kills for Loyola, and the Greyhounds were up 16-11 after a UMBC timeout.
UMBC would get within two in that set, but Loyola pulled away to close the frame 25-21 on a Corri Waters kill, knotting the match at 1-1.
The Retrievers, however, increased their hitting efficiency in the third and fourth sets, recording 14 kills with two errors in both stanzas to close the match, 32-30, 21-25, 25-15, 25-14.
Molly Cichosz led Loyola with 13 kills against UMBC, while Haley Puddy posted 11 on a .429 hitting percentage and four blocks in her first collegiate match. Kazalas added 11 kills, and Werts tallied five along with 38 assists. Micah Duzey had a team-best 13 digs.
Host Robert Morris stated the evening match with narrow wins in the first two sets, 25-21 and 25-23, but Loyola battled back in the third.
After the Greyhounds led in the third's early points, the Colonials took a 12-11 advantage on an April Krivoniak kill, but a Robert Morris service error gave the Greyhounds a sideout, and Puddy and Kazalas had consecutive kills to put Loyola back up, 14-12.
The teams would trade sideouts before the Colonials scored three in a row to lead 16-15. The next six points were all scored on sideouts, and Robert Morris maintained a one-point edge, 19-18, before Puddy put away a kill to spark a 4-0 Greyhounds run.
Robert Morris sided out after it took a timeout, but Puddy got the serve back for Loyola with a sideout kill.
After a Loyola hitting error, Kazalas had back-to-back kills, sending the match to a fourth set with Loyola winning the third, 25-21.
Loyola was within two, 11-9, in the fourth, but Robert Morris reeled off eight-straight points to go ahead 19-9 and take command of the match.
Kazalas led Loyola with 14 kills, posting 25 for the day, and Puddy added 10 against Robert Morris to go with three blocks. Werts set the final three frames of the match and finished with 31 assists, while she tied Duzey and Cichosz for match-high honors with 11 digs.
Loyola wraps up its weekend of action at the Invitational on Sunday with a 2 p.m. match against Canisius University.