CHICAGO, IL. (WFIE) - Junior Alondra Vazquez recorded a season-high 23 kills and helped the University of Evansville volleyball team battle Loyola in five sets before the Ramblers made a huge run in the fifth game to take a 3-2 win on Sunday afternoon.
Vazquez posted 23 kills for UE (2-5, 1-4 MVC) while Chloe Bontrager and Melanie Feliciano added 10 apiece. Allana McInnis and Cecilia Thon added 26 and 16 assists, respectively, while Rachel Basinski had 21 digs. Brooke Springer had a nice game on the defensive side, earning six block assists. Loyola (5-1, 4-1 MVC) saw Anna Feldkamp and Emily Banitt post 15 kills apiece.
The opening five points of the day belonged to the Ramblers, who would lead for the duration of the set. They would extend the lead to double figures at 19-9 before finishing with a 25-13 win.
Evansville put together a strong showing in game two. Trailing 9-7, a kill by Cecilia Thon started a 3-0 stretch that put the Aces in front. Hannah Watkins added a kill before Alondra Vazquez recorded a service ace that saw UE extend its lead to 16-12. Loyola got back within one at 16-15, but Evansville countered with a Feliciano kill that pushed the lead back to a pair. With her team clinging to a 21-20 lead, Alondra Vazquez had three kills that lifted her team to a 25-21 victory to tie the match.
It was the Ramblers who posted the opening four tallies before the Aces back. Facing the early deficit, Chloe Bontrager and Melanie Feliciano recorded kills while the defense forced five errors to give Evansville a 7-6 edge. Another Vazquez kill pushed the lead to three points at 11-8, but the Ramblers countered with a run that was capped off by a Kat Warpinski service ace that gave them an 18-17 advantage. UE fought back to tie it up at 19-19 before a late run gave Loyola a 25-21 decision and a 2-1 match lead.
UE found itself in an early 8-3 hole, but it was Alondra Vazquez putting the match on her shoulders to help the Aces rally to tie it up for the first time at 13-13. She had five kills in the rally with Bontrager adding one of her own. Another tally by Vazquez put the Aces in front at 16-15. The big run came with the Aces trailing by a 23-22 score. Bontrager added a kill before a Loyola error gave Evansville the lead. Feliciano finished it off with a kill that sent the match to a fifth set with Evansville’s 25-23 triumph.
An error by the Ramblers gave UE a 3-2 lead, but the tides turned as Loyola scored the next eight points to go in front by a 10-3 margin. The deficit was too much to overcome as Loyola clinched the match with a 15-5 victory in game five.
UE will look to earn a series split when the teams meet up on Monday at 2 p.m. in Chicago.