Lindenwood has gone from being one of the nation’s last winless teams this season to now knocking off a top-10 nationally ranked team.
Setter Adam Brewster had match-high eight blocks and guided the offense to hit .348 in the final game as Lindenwood upset No. 9/8 Loyola 25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 25-12 on Saturday in St. Charles, Missouri.
This is the Lions’ second victory in their last three matches after opening the season with 13 consecutive losses. It also is the first time in two years that Lindenwood has defeated a nationally ranked opponent.
“We are so proud of our guys tonight,” coach Kris Dorn said in a postmatch interview with Off the Block. “We’ve been talking about grit and kind of being able to push through obstacles. This is the best team performance that we’ve had this season.”
Lindenwood out-hit Loyola .207 to .118, including holding the Ramblers to a negative attack percentage in two of the four games.
The Lions had three players finish with at least five blocks and out-blocked the Ramblers 13 to 10. Besides Brewster, middle attacker Connor Hipelius had seven blocks and freshman middle attacker Sam Schindler contributed five blocks.
Libero Ryan Vorderer added a match-high 14 digs in the conference victory.
Outside attacker Michael Chard also had 10 digs and 10 kills — one of two Lions with double-digit kills. Opposite Blake Koppel led all players with a season-high 17 kills against Loyola.
Opposite Ben Plaisted in the loss finished with both a team-high 11 kills and four blocks.
This was the Ramblers’ first loss to an unranked team so far this season. However, Loyola remains in third place in the MIVA and a half-match ahead of fourth place No. 11/10 Ball State and Grand Canyon.
With this victory, Lindenwood moves into eighth place, which is the final berth for the upcoming MIVA Tournament.
Dorn said he is optimistic with five remaining MIVA regular seasons that Lindenwood can earn its first postseason berth since 2015.
“I really do like our match-ups and how we are playing right now,” he said. “Tonight was a great testament to all of us that hey we can do this.”