BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland volleyball had just one receiving error on 50 College of the Holy Cross serves, and solid passing helped the Greyhounds to a 25-21, 25-21, 25-15, Patriot League win over the visiting Crusaders.
The Greyhounds (6-13 overall, 1-3 Patriot League) hit .304 in the victory as three players – Stacey Kazalas (13), Molly Cichosz (12) and Haley Puddy (11) – had 10 or more kills. Danielle Hillman finished one off her career-high with seven kills, and Molly Werts had six in addition to 32 assists and 12 digs.
Meanwhile, it was Loyola’s serve-receive proficiency that keyed the offense. The Greyhounds’ only receiving error came in the first set on a ball ruled just inside the back line on a Lynsey Petersen serve. Entering the game, the fewest receiving errors Loyola had committed in a game was four (at Lehigh; Sept. 25).
The win also snapped a seven-match skid, and it was the first Patriot League win for Loyola in 19 matches dating back to a five-set victory in the 2013 season finale against Bucknell University.
Loyola also played defense at a high level, posting 58 digs, a season-high for a three-set match. Micah Duzey had a match-best 18, while Werts had 12, and Kazalas pulled up nine.
Sunday’s start did not look so promising as two Loyola hitting errors, a Mary Mullen kill for Holy Cross (3-13, 0-4) and the lone Crusaders’ ace, gave Holy Cross a 4-0 lead in the first.
Loyola then trailed 5-2 after one of Mandy Sifferlen’s game-high 15 kills for the Crusaders, but Molly Cichosz put away four-consecutive kills for Loyola, helping Micah Duzey serve eight-straight points.
A Sifferlen attack error would give Loyola an 11-5 advantage that it would stretch to nine. Werts had a dump for a kill at 17-8 coming off Holy Cross’ second timeout of the set.
The Crusaders eventually closed to within three, 24-21, on a Natalie Welsch-Kristen Somerville block, but Puddy put away a kill to give the Greyhounds a first-set win.
Holy Cross tied the second set at 11-11 on a Loyola attack error, but Kazalas and Hillman had kills for the Greyhounds before the teams traded sideout points for a 14-12 Loyola lead.
Cichosz then put down another kill, and Hillman and Puddy teamed for a block to force a Crusaders’ timeout at 16-12. Another Puddy kill pushed the advantage to five, and one of Cichosz’s two service aces made the lead six, 20-14.
Holy Cross, however, would get five of the next six points to pull within a pair, 21-19, before Loyola pulled away for the set victory.
Loyola scored four points in a row to start the third and never trailed in the frame, hitting .406 in the final stanza.
The Greyhounds continue League action next weekend when they travel for matches at Bucknell University on Friday, Oct. 9, and Colgate University the following day.