Sept. 19, 2010
Baltimore, Md. - The volleyball team battled back from a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth set, but Iona regrouped to take the deciding set 15-10 for a 3-2 (22-25, 18-25, 29-27, 25-13, 10-15) MAAC road victory Sunday afternoon in Reitz Arena. The loss dropped Loyola to 5-9 on the season and winless in two conference contests on the opening weekend of league play. Iona improved to 8-4 and 2-0 in MAAC play.
"This conference is going to be just like what we experienced," said Head Coach Scott Pennewill. "It comes down to a team's experience their ability to minimize errors at crucial times. We are going to need to learn that on the road. The young athletes are going to have to learn how to play good. "
Leading for the Greyhounds was senior Nina Camaioni who had a double-double for the match with 23 kills and 12 digs. Camaioni also had a hitting percentage of .258. Sophomore Katie Dircks also added 17 kills and 16 digs.
Sophomore Aubrey Kirven had 56 assists for the match and 15 digs and Brittany Born added 16 digs.
Iona was led by Theresa Harvey who had a double-double with 20 kills and 16 digs.
The Gaels led from the onset of the final set and took control of the set and match with four straight points for an 11-6 lead with the five-point advantage being maintained through the end of the set.
"We needed a run in the fifth set," added Pennewill. "We never got that going mean while they started that set with a run. So playing from behind becomes a very tall order in a short amount of time. Fifteen points is about ten minutes. You got about ten minutes to figure it out. We didn't quite get there. "
Down two sets and trailing 12-6 in the third, the Greyhounds found their game and began their comeback. On the brink of defeat, Loyola outscored the Gaels 18-10 to build a 24-22 lead, but received a bad handle by Iona and a kill by Katie Dircks to win 29-27 and force a fourth set.
"We got offensive which is indicative of the side out, hitting percentages and we minimized errors," said Pennewill about being down 2-0 and winning set three. "Then Iona started to make some of their own.
"Being able to bounce back from 2-0 is a character issue. It is about heart, determination and making up your mind that this isn't going to end at three. We are going to extend this and we want to play longer. That is an experience thing. The more we can create that with consistency and purpose the better we will be in the long run."
It was all Greyhounds in set No. 4 as they scored the first five points and built a 20-9 advantage en route to the 25-13 win to tie the match. Loyola outhit the Gaels by a sizable .417 to .059 in the set.
"That is momentum," commented Pennewill about the fourth set. "We actually talk about momentum being that seventh player. We want momentum to be with us. It is about putting runs together and knowing that the opposition is going to get there run eventually. It is about who can create that and get the last say in that run series.
Different from Saturday's sweep at the hands of Fairfield when the Greyhounds were down early and tried to get back in sets late, Loyola held the better of things through the middle parts of the first two sets before Iona seized control of each to roll out to the 2-0 advantage.
Loyola held two-point leads late in both of the opening sets, but the Gaels grouped together to put together long runs to capture both sets. The Greyhounds led 20-18 in the first set before Iona scored seven of nine to take a 1-0 lead and the Gaels ran off 11 of 13 points after Loyola led 16-14 in the second set.
The Greyhounds play their next three away from Reitz Arena starting with Wednesday's match at American. MAAC play continues on the weekend with the annual trip to Western New York to take on Canisius (Saturday) and Niagara (Sunday).
"Being on the road is going to get us seasoned for that home stretch when we want to be playing our best ball," said Pennewill. "Our program is looking to improve every day. And as that occurs by the time you are playing at the end of October and beginning of November and that is when we are going to be playing our best ball. That's the goal."