Still dreaming: Loyola pounds Stanford to win program’s first NCAA championship

The dream season is now a reality.

The No. 1 seed Loyola had a near NCAA Tournament record .452 attack percentage as it defeated the No. 3 seed Stanford 25-17, 19-25, 25-19, 25-15 on Saturday in Chicago to win its first national title in program history.


Outside attacker Cody Caldwell had a match-high 20 kills in the victory.

Caldwell was one of three Ramblers in the victory to finish the match with double-digit kills. Outside attacker Thomas Jaeschke, the 2014 MIVA Player of the Year added 12 kills, while outside attacker Joe Smalzer had 12 kills.

Stanford outside attacker Brain Cook in the loss had a team-high 15 kills.

Loyola out-hit Stanford .452 to. 266, including hitting more than .400 all three of its game victories.

The NCAA Tournament record for team attack percentage was set by UCLA as it hit .542 to beat IPFW in the 1994 national semifinals.

Loyola in the fourth game to clinch the victory held the Cardinal to a .040 attack percentage.

Loyola in the third game jumped out to a 8-4 lead but Stanford went on a 5-2 run to move within one point. However, Loyola rallied back and Jaeschke had a game-high six kills to help the Ramblers take the game and move within one-game of a national title.

With Stanford leading 10-9 in the second game, the Cardinal went on a 8-2 run to take a seven-point lead and it eventually win the game to even the match. The Cardinal also had four aces in the second game, including two from setter James Shaw.

Caldwell had a game-high nine kills in the opening game. In addition, the Ramblers had a match-best .696 attack percentage and led by as many as nine points to take a one-game lead.

Loyola in its first time playing host to the NCAA Tournament becomes the first host school to win the national championship since Stanford accomplished the feat in 2010.

This is the second time in the last four years that the MIVA has won the national championship. The conference before Ohio State’s title in 2011 had never won and retained a NCAA title.

The Ramblers finished the regular season as the first MIVA team since Ball State in 1979 to go undefeated in conference play. In addition, the team won the MIVA Tournament and defeated Penn State in five games in the NCAA Tournament semifinals on Thursday to reach the NCAA championship.