CHICAGO — Outside of a lone setback in their home state, the last calendar year has been filled with nothing but wins for the SFA volleyball team and that trend continued in the Windy City Thursday evening.
Powered by a 13-5 edge in blocks, a service game that generated eight aces and a balanced attack that featured a team-high 11 terminations from senior Xariah Williams, the SFA volleyball team remained undefeated by scoring a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Loyola-Chicago at Gentile Arena.
Not only did the Ladyjacks move to 2-0 against Missouri Valley Conference foes in 2019, they extended their regular season winning streak to 30 matches. That run dates back to Sept. 1, 2018, when the Ladyjacks put up a 3-1 victory at Colgate and was lengthened thanks to a defensive effort that held the Ramblers to an attack percentage of just .182.
• Defense, a strong service game and a balanced offensive attack helped SFA win the day. Along with her team-high 11 kills, Williams added five digs and a trio of blocks.
• Looming large at the front of the net, Taya Mitchell complimented her seven kills with seven rejections while Danae Daron chipped in five terminations and an equal number of blocks.
• Sheretta Hill hit .300, turned in five kills and added six blocks while Ann Hollas narrowly missed out on a double-double by accumulating nine kills, 23 assists, eight digs, two blocks and a pair of aces.
• Corin Evans added three of SFA’s eight service aces as well as seven digs.
• Dean passed out 20 assists while Madelynn Miller made sure to lead SFA’s floor defense once again with a team-high 28 digs. Ariana Pagan was the only other Ladyjacks who finished with double-digit scoops (10).
• Three players finished with double-digit kills for Loyola-Chicago, none more than Barnes who put down a match-best 16.
COMING UP NEXT
• SFA heads to Big Ten territory Friday and Saturday as one of four participants in Northwestern’s Under Armour Invitational. SFA starts its three-match run at Welsh-Ryan Arena today at 1 p.m. by tanging with Big 12 and in-state adversary Texas Tech.
SET ONE | Loyola-Chicago 25, SFA 20
• Hoping to put on a show in their home debut, the Ramblers wasted no time in showing off their offense. Loyola-Chicago generated five kills during a 5-0 run to start the match and jumped out to a 13-5 lead before the Ladyjacks found their footing.
• Through a 6-2 SFA run which trimmed the Ramblers’ lead to 15-11, Xariah Williams struck for a pair of kills while Margaret Dean added a service ace.
• Regrettable, Loyola-Chicago’s early lead proved to be too large for the Ladyjacks to overcome. Following a timeout by the home team, an SFA service error represented the starting point of a 4-0 Rambler scoring which put the Ladyjacks in a 19-11 hole.
• The Ladyjacks, though, had quite a bit of fight left in them down the stretch. Seniors Danae Daron and Corin Evans served up one ace apiece through a 6-1 Ladyjack surge which made matters 23-20. Out of the Ramblers’ last timeout, though, Loyola-Chicago slammed home the final pair of its 18 kills in the set to open up an early lead.
• Hitting only .114 for the set, SFA was unable to match the Ramblers’ firepower as the hosts hit a collective .302 during frame number one.
SET TWO | SFA 25, Loyola-Chicago 16
• Flipping the script in the second, the Ladyjacks were the once who came out as the aggressors and used a strong offense to knot things up at one set apiece.
• Never trailing in the set, SFA received terminations from six different players through a 12-5 run to open the match. Ann Hollas had a trio of those kills during her squad’s initial salvo.
• A combo rejection by Daron and Sheretta Hill hiked the visitors’ edge to 19-10 before the Ramblers battled back. Loyola-Chicago embarked on a 5-0 run to pull within four before consecutive terminations off the hand of Williams started set-clinching 6-1 surge by SFA.
• It was who watched its offense go above the .300 mark in the frame as the Ladyjacks hit at a clip of .303 while holding the Ramblers to a mark of .097.
SET THREE | SFA 25, Loyola-Chicago 23
• Back-and-forth play ruled the third, but in the end SFA took the lead thanks to a timely combination of accurate hitting and some Rambler miscues.
• Two terminations by Addie Barnes helped the hosts start the frame on a 4-1 run and put SFA in one of its two three-point deficits through the set.
• Down 6-3, SFA’s biggest two biggest allies during its 6-1 run to to take its first lead of the set were the service game and the Ramblers’ inaccuracy. Evans served up a pair of winners from the line and a pair of unforced Loyola-Chicago errors helped the Ladyjacks take a 9-7 lead.
• The teams traded points — and leads — for the better part of the set after that. Hill pounded down a mighty kill to tie things up a 19, but a Loyola-Chicago kill and an ace pushed the home team back up by two.
• Not wanting to go down 2-1, SFA turned to Hollas and Taya Mitchell to put a stop to the Ramblers. One kill each from those two knotted matters at 21 and after a Rambler attack error put SFA ahead the rest of the way, Hollas and Mitchell joined up for a block. Though the hosts received two more kills, they were offset by another two service errors that helped SFA close out the set.
SET FOUR | SFA 25, Loyola-Chicago 20
• Mitchell showed no signs of having cooled off during the break between sets as she started a 6-2 SFA run to start the deciding frame with consecutive kills.
• The Ladyjacks never trailed in the set and even though the Ramblers fought back and tied things up three times, SFA produced an appropriate response each time.
• After a Mitchell attack error made matters 14-14, the Ladyjacks ripped off eight of the next nine points to go up 22-15. That backbreaking run came off of Hollas’ serve and featured terminations from four separate SFA players.
• Loyola-Chicago answered with three consecutive points, but the Ladyjacks turned to Williams to seal the deal. The senior was responsible for each of SFA’s final three points by generating kills on each of them to keep SFA undefeated in 2019.