CHICAGO, Ill. – King College lost in straight sets to the Loyola University Chicago Ramblers 26-24, 25-16, 25-17. Senior James Friddle led the Tornado with 10 kills and four total blocks as King drops to 7-16 overall on the season.
King was just two points away from beginning the match with an opening set win after battling back from a six-point deficit in game one. Joseph Smalzer led a small rally lasting six services and leading to an 8-4 score. Four service errors were exchanged between the teams plus a King attack error helped the Ramblers extend their lead to six points, 12-6. Down 21-15, the Tornado mounted an 8-2 run to tie the game at 23. Michael Koebel (Richmond, Va.) and Matthew Harper (Matoaca, Va.) each tallied service aces while King benefitted from five Loyola errors during the run. The Tornado took their first lead of the game, 24-23, by way of an attack error by Steve Thompson and were facing match point before the Ramblers scored three consecutive points to steal the match away behind two kills from Smalzer and a King attack error.
In both the second and third games, Loyola jumped out to early leads and did not allow King to draw within five points of them throughout the duration of the match. Joseph Smalzer again led Loyola to seven consecutive services to help Loyola to a seven-point Rambler lead in game two and a six-service run in game three to help build an early five-point lead in the final frame. The Tornado lost each of the final sessions by scores of 25-16 and 25-17, respectively.
James Friddle (Cartersville, Ga.) led the Tornado with 10 kills, posting four in both the first and third sets. He hit 4-for-6 (.500) in the opening frame with only one error. He hit .333 for the entire match, committing only three errors on 21 attempts. The senior also shared the team lead with four total blocks (one solo). Matthew Harper shared that lead with Friddle with all four of his blocks coming by assist. Friddle and Brandon Rorer (Richmond, Va.) each had a team-best four digs while Justin Crane (Richmond, Va.) led with 17 assists.
Joseph Smalzer finished the match with 18 kills for the Ramblers, while teammate Dainis Berzins ended with 11. The Ramblers hit at a .371 clip for the match and had three players with 10 or more attempts hit over .400.
King (7-16, 1-5) will begin a six-match homestand beginning with Division I opponent NJIT on Saturday, March 17. Action from within the Student Center Complex will begin at 3:00 p.m. The Tornado will return to Conference Carolinas play again Pfeiffer College on March 23.