BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland opened the match hitting .357 in the first set, setting the tone for a three-set victory over visiting Howard University, 25-22, 25-16, 25-19, on Tuesday night in Reitz Arena.
The Greyhounds (1-3 overall) finished the match hitting a season-high .269, but defense played a big role in the victory, as well. Micah Duzey posted 17 digs in the match, leading the way for Loyola as the Greyhounds had 49 and held the Bison (0-4) to a .056 hitting percentage.
Cichosz led the offense with 14 kills, while Kazalas posted a double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs. Puddy posted seven kills, five in the final set. Molly Werts directed the offense with 32 assists, and she also crossed double figures in digs with 10.
Up a point, 17-16, in the first set, Loyola scored on a Kazalas kill and a Howard attack error to lead by three. The advantage stretched to four, 22-18, off a Cichosz kill, but the Bison to within one, 23-22, after a Greyhounds ball-handling error.
Cichosz, however, put away a kill for a sideout point at 24-22, and she served an ace on set-point, giving thre Greyhounds a 1-0 lead in the match.
The teams traded points early in the second set and were tied 7-7 before Loyola scored four in a row, aided by two Puddy aces and a Waters-Kazalas block, to go ahead 11-7. Howard would get within three on two sideout points thereafter, but Loyola extended its advantage to seven, 21-14, on a Werts-Waters block.
Loyola then led from wire-to-wire in the deciding third set en route to the first Loyola victory for first-year head coach Alija Pittenger.
The Greyhounds sided out at a 70 percent rate in the match and made just 10 hitting errors overall.
Loyola goes back on the road for tournament play this weekend when it travels to High Point, North Carolina for the HPU Classic sponsored by Hampton Inn starting on Friday.