Loyola volleyball drops to 0-2 in SSAC following 3-2 loss at Faulkner

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Eyeing its first conference victory of the season, the Loyola University New Orleans volleyball team headed to Montgomery, Alabama on Saturday afternoon to square off against Faulkner University in a Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) showdown.

The Wolf Pack entered Saturday’s matchup coming off a 0-3 defeat at the hands of (RV) Mobile last night and having not beaten Faulkner in the last six matches.  Despite holding a 2-1 match lead late in the affair, the Wolf Pack was unable to hold off the host Eagles on the road, as Faulkner came back to win the final two sets to take the 3-2 (23-25,25-20,25-21,19-25,10-25) victory.

With the loss, Loyola drops to 5-7 overall (0-2 SSAC) while Faulkner improves to 8-3 on the year (2-0 SSAC) following the victory.

The Eagles raced out to a 22-15 advantage to kick off the opening set before Loyola rattled off 6-0 run to bring the Wolf Pack within two at 23-21. The home team would manage to keep the two-point cushion for the remainder of the set and a service error by Loyola sealed the 25-23 victory for the Eagles.

With the score knotted at 4-4, the Wolf Pack used a kill by Allison Hartmann (JR/Slidell, La.) paired with a handful of Faulkner errors to grab the 9-5 advantage early in the frame.  The set would tie two more times before Loyola was able to build a five-point cushion, 23-18, in the waning moments.  Following a set error by the visitors, a kill by Beatriz Agosto (SO/Miami, Fla.) would hand Loyola the 25-20 victory to knot the match at 1-1.

Set three started with a kill by Lindsay Ulfig (SR/Saline, Mich.) and three Eagles errors to put the Wolf Pack up 4-0.  Both teams exchanged blows throughout the remainder of the set until Loyola found itself up 24-20 and just one point away from claiming the set. An attack error by the Wolf Pack brought the score to 24-21 before a big block by Beatriz Agosto shut the door on the Eagles to give the Wolf Pack the 25-21 set win.

Loyola started set four down 7-4 before kills by Adelida Obioha (FR/New Orleans, La.), Ulfig and Hartmann sparked a 5-0 run to put the visitors up 9-7. Faulkner battled back to square the set at 11-11 before building a six-point cushion at 22-16. A late kill by Hartmann cut the Loyola deficit to 23-19 late, but a kill by Kortney Barnes paired with an attack error sealed the 25-19 victory in set four for the Eagles to force a fifth set.

A kill by Hartmann put Loyola up 1-0 to start the final set, but this would prove to be the final lead for the Wolf Pack in the match. Despite a late Loyola mini-run, Faulkner was able to hold on to claim set five victory 15-10 and the match win 3-2.

Hartmann led all players with a season-high 16 kills while Sunni Blanchard (SO/Pierre Part, La.) paced the Wolf Pack offense with 21 kills. Helene Masone (FR/Destin, Fla.) notched a career-best 24 digs in the loss and Maddie Huekels (JR/Dyer, Ind.) handed out 20 helpers off the bench on Saturday.

Tori Marchant’s 13 kills were the most on the Eagles and Katie Musser collected a match-high 22 assists to go along with 18 digs in the victory.

Loyola returns home tomorrow, Sept. 17, for a non-conference matchup against Talladega College at 3:00 p.m.

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