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UC Irvine Men’s Volleyball Return To The Bren To Beat Loyola Chicago In Four Sets

By: Christina Reyes 

Photography by: Christina Reyes

No. 8 UCI Men’s Volleyball ((2-1), (0-0)) defeated No. 11 Loyola Chicago ((1-3), (0-0)) in their second home game of the season on Friday, Jan. 10 at the Bren Events Center. UCI won with three consecutive sets — two, three and four. 

The night before, UCI lost to No. 6 Lewis University during their first home game of the season. After asking junior Joel Schneidmiller what he thought went differently last night compared to tonight, he said that the team had an overall better game the day before but that some nervous mistakes were made. 

“I think it was just a lot of energy, and we came out really fiery. By the fifth set everybody was probably just a little tired,” Schneidmiller said.

Despite the loss against Lewis on Thursday night and losing the first set, 25-18, UCI was able to hold a steady attack for the next three sets and play just four sets to beat Loyola Chicago, instead of five like in the previous game against Lewis. Redshirt sophomore Alexandre Nsakanda and Schneidmiller led the attack. The two had a combined total of 26 kills — 13 kills each. With the help of two other players — senior JB Kam and senior Scott Stadick — 22 kills were made — 11 a piece .  

In the second set, UCI and Loyola Chicago were trading points throughout the set and found themselves tied at the end of the set, 23-23. Loyola found the empty left side of the court after a long rally and it was Nsakanda who responded with a kill. However, a failed dig that darted out of bounds by UCI gave the lead back to Loyola. Nsakanda once again attacked Loyola and knotted the score 25-25. Trading back points, UCI got a 27-26 lead due to a block by Nsakanda. UCI won the second set 28-26 after the referee called the controversial play in UCI’s favor. 

Now tied in the match UCI found some heat by coming out in the third set with a 7-0 run. The team held a set point at 24-16 until Loyola Chicago gained  three more points. UCI was stunned until Schneidmiller closed the set with a kill. The third set ended, 25-19. 

The last set ended with two points scored by Schneidmiller, and a point by redshirt junior Sean Dennis. Schneidmiller ended the match with a kill made possible by a nice setup from redshirt freshman Patrick Vorenkamp. UCI won the fourth set and game with a score of 25-22. 

UCI led with 12 blocks versus Loyola Chicago’s 9.5 blocks. Loyola Chicago had 57 recorded kills on the match versus the Anteater’s 56. For Loyola Chicago, freshman Cole Schlothaur had a match-best with 21 kills, 11 digs and 5 blocks in the game. UCI’s redshirt sophomore AJ Faille had a career-high of 11 digs. Lastly, UCI’s Dennis had a career-best seven kills recorded on the match.  

Aj Faille

UCI Men’s Volleyball will host No. 7 Stanford on Friday, Jan. 19 at the Bren Events Center.