Loyola sweeps Pfeiffer to reach NCAA semifinals

Pfeiffer learned a big lesson in its NCAA Tournament debut — it’s hard to knock off the defending NCAA champions even for a game.

Loyola fought off nine game-points in the second game as it swept the No. 6 seed Pfeiffer 25-20, 33-31, 25-15 in the NCAA Tournament play-in match on Tuesday.

All-American outside attacker Thomas Jaeschke had a match-high 12 kills in the victory. In addition, middle attacker Nicholas Olson added eight kills and led the Ramblers with a .778 attack percentage.


Outside attacker Jonathan Martinez in the loss had a team-high 11 kills.

Loyola out-hit the Conference Carolinas champions Pfeiffer .330 to .106, including holding the Falcons to a match-worst negative-.286 attack percentage in the final game to complete the sweep.

Loyola fought off five game-points in the second game to force an overtime. It also stopped four potential game-points in the overtime before winning the game on a solo block from opposite Ricky Gevis.

Pfeiffer cut the Loyola lead to one-point midway through the first game. However, the Ramblers went on a 5-2 run before winning the opening game by five points.

Jaeschke and Olson had a game-high four kills in the opening-game. In addition, Loyola benefitted from Pfeiffer’s seven serving errors in the first game.

With this victory, Loyola advances to play the No. 3 seed UC Irvine in the NCAA Tournament semifinals on Thursday.