BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland rallied to win the final two sets to defeat Rider University, 25-19, 25-27, 18-25, 26-24, 15-11, on Friday night to win its Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener in the Marriott Greyhound Classic at Reitz Arena.
Earlier in the day, Charleston Southern University opened the tournament with a three-set win over Morgan State University.
Bullock also led the Greyhounds' blocking effort with six total, while Mindy Maloney had four, and Dircks and Lukas were each in on three. Lauren Andersen distributed 52 assists and had 18 digs, while Kara Schiffer pulled up a career-best 25 digs.
Rider (4-3 overall, 0-1 MAAC) led throughout the most of the fourth set with a 2-1 advantage in the match on its side. The Broncs went up 14-11 on one of Bridget Sheerin's 12 kills, but a Lukas kill and a ball-handling error on Rider pulled Loyola within a point.
After a Broncs' timeout, Loyola had a serve go long, but Bullock got the serve back for Loyola with a kill, making the score 15-14.
Maloney and Dircks locked up a block on Sheerin to tie the score at 15-15, and a Maloney kill put Loyola in front for the first time since it led 3-2.
Rider, however, scored the next three points to go ahead, 18-16, on a Jaclyn Webber kill. Loyola (5-4, 1-0) came back to tie the match at 18-18 with back-to-back kills by Dircks and Lukas, and the teams traded sideouts and points with the score knotting at 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23.
After a Bullock kill evened the set at 23-23, Sheerin put away a kill to give Rider match point, 24-23, but Bullock responded with a kill to tie the match again. A Broncs' ball-handling error gave Loyola set-point, and then a Webber attack went wide to pusht he match to a deciding fifth set.
Rider scored the fist two points before Loyola reeled off three in a row on kills by Bullock and Lukas wrapped around a block by Lauren Arnold and Bullock.
The Broncs came back to tie the set at 3-3 on a block by Stephanie Nagy and Webber, and they went ahead by a point when Kayla Wong recorded one of her eight kills.
Loyola scored five of the next six points, however, to garner an 8-5 advantage when Arnold put away a kill, forcing a Rider timeout.
Coming out of the stoppage, Rider scored three in a row, tying the set at 8-8 on a Dircks attack error before Sheerin committed a service miscue to stop the run.
Wong had a kill, however, on the next point, and Ashlee Amatulli dumped a ball for a point to give Rider a 10-9 advantage, and it was Loyola's turn to call a timeout.
This time it was Loyola that would rally when it returned to the court. A Broncs attack error tied the set at 10-10, and Lukas and Webber traded kills to make it 11-11.
Lukas, however, put away a kill to push Loyola up a point, and two straight Rider errors gave Loyola match point, 14-11. Bullock recorded her fourth kill of the set to boost Loyola to the victory.
Loyola's defense was solid throughout the match, as the Greyhounds had a season-best 90 digs. In addition to the 43 combined by Schiffer and Andersen, Janet Pressler had 17 to go with three aces, and Lukas matched her career-best with 11 in addition to a match-high four aces. Dircks added 10 digs, and Bullock posted eight.
The Greyhounds are back in action on the second day of the tournament when they host Charleston Southern at 11 o'clock in Reitz Arena. Morgan State and Rider play at 2 p.m., and the Broncs take on Charleston Southern at 4:30 p.m. Loyola closes the tournament with a 7 p.m. match against its Cold Spring Lane foe Morgan State.