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The Greyhound

Volleyball seniors exit in dramatic, five-set victory

Over the weekend, Loyola University Maryland’s women’s volleyball (8-20, 5-11 Patriot League) prepared to defend Reitz Arena against both Colgate University (21-8, 13-3 Patriot League) and Bucknell University (10-16, 3-13 Patriot League).
Combining for 2,634 kills, 551 blocks and 1,402 digs over their four seasons at Loyola, seniors Jac Bullock, Elena Frac, Faye Lukas, Samantha Reeves, Simone Reid, and Nicole Sarby looked to add to their legacy.
Coach Jake Lawrence also emphasized their dedication to the team, “That group has been the very core of our culture since I’ve come here. They’ve really committed.”_DSC0476
After recording the first road-sweep in program history, defeating College of the Holy Cross and the U.S. Military Academy last weekend, the Greyhounds came into Friday’s match against Colgate with energy and confidence.
Loyola controlled the first set. Two kills by junior Mindy Maloney spurred the Greyhounds to an early 4-1 lead. Eight attack errors hurt Colgate’s cause, and one of Sarby’s three service aces put Loyola ahead as they took the set 25-18. Several attack errors and two Colgate service aces late in the second set dropped Loyola 16-25.
The third and fourth sets mirrored the second. Fighting hard early, the Greyhounds could not stave-off late runs of 9-2 in the third and 7-3 in the fourth as they dropped both of the final sets 16-25.
Loyola looked to rebound on Saturday in the final match of the seniors’ careers and the team’s season.
Senior day brought family, fans and a sense of urgency to Reitz Arena. Faye Lukas reflected, “Volleyball has basically been my life since I was nine years old,” she said, “to be able to graduate and have completed the journey all the way to the end, it teaches me something about perseverance.”
After a beautiful ceremony celebrating the team’s seniors, Loyola turned its attention to Bucknell.
The first set pivoted with each serve-receive as the Greyhounds battled to a 10-10 deadlock, but the Bison pulled ahead late, taking a 20-18 advantage. After a Loyola timeout, Faye Lukas added a kill for the Greyhounds and two attack errors from the Bison knotted the score at 22. However, Loyola’s momentum dwindled as Bucknell won the set 25-22.
In the second set, Loyola jumped to an early 3-0 lead after a kill by Reid. Reeves capitalized on a Bucknell attack error with a service ace, regaining control and momentum for Loyola with the score 7-5. The Greyhounds controlled the set, and the Lukas sisters, who combined for 40 kills in the match, closed the door on the Bison in spite of a late surge to win 25-22.
Another timely service ace from Reeves gave the Greyhounds an 8-4 advantage in the third set, but multiple attack errors allowed the Bison to pressure the Loyola defense. Down 18-20, Loyola was forced to take a timeout.
Sensing the moment, the crowd supplied the team with an added lift. Inspired, the Greyhounds took control, finishing the match on a 7-1 run that featured a service ace from Bullock and a cross-court kill by Faye Lukas.
As anticipated, the fourth set remained close with Loyola struggling to gain the upperhand. The Greyhounds closed the deficit to make the score 20-21, but two costly attack errors gave the Bison the fourth set 25-21.
Bucknell grabbed a 4-2 lead at the start of the fifth set, but a service error offered Loyola an opportunity. In her final collegiate match, Frac brought the Greyhounds back as Loyola scored five unanswered points on her serve. The Greyhounds would not relinquish their advantage as Jane Lukas and Maloney combined for five kills in the deciding fifth set to win 15-11.
Jane Lukas recorded a career high 16 kills and Schiffer registered 29 digs with seven assists against Bucknell in support of their senior teammates. Andersen showcased her versatility, contributing 51 assists, 16 digs, four kills and two blocks while Maloney finished nine kills and owned the net with seven blocks.
Coach Lawrence discussed the future of the program, saying, “2014 starts on Monday. We know where we want to be, we want to be wining championships in the conference. We’re going to scrap our way and fight our way to the top.”
Loyola concluded the season winning three of its four Patriot League matches. As the seniors graduate, the team looks to build upon its late-season success and Patriot League experience.

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Volleyball seniors exit in dramatic, five-set victory