Penn State, Loyola to renew non-conference series in 2019

Photo courtesy of Penn State athletics and Craig Houtz

[Editor’s note: Off the Block in collaboration with the EIVA is presenting The Top 15 EIVA Non-Conference Matches. This list spotlights the best non-conference matches scheduled for EIVA teams in 2019 and will be the first time several of these matches have been publicly announced. Penn State versus Loyola is ranked No. 3 on the list.]

Two of the nation’s top underclassmen setters from last season will go head-to-head next year.

Loyola and its All-MIVA setter Garrett Zolg will play host to Penn State and its setter Luke Braswell as the two teams renew their non-conference series in February following a one-year hiatus.

Both Zolg and Braswell ended 2018 among the national leaders in assists.

Zolg as a freshman was seventh in the nation with a 10.32 assists per game average and guided Loyola to be one of the eight teams in the country that had more than a .300 attack percentage. He also earned MIVA Freshman of the Year and Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American Team honors as the Ramblers advanced to the MIVA Tournament finals.

Braswell in his sophomore season led the EIVA averaging 9.62 assists per game, including having 56 assists and two aces in an EIVA Tournament semifinals loss to Harvard. In addition, Braswell was a Freshman All-American selection in 2017 and helped the Nittany Lions that season reach the NCAA Tournament.

Before last season, the Ramblers and Nittany Lions had play each other every year since 2007.

The two teams split their most recent home-and-home series in 2017. Loyola has won seven of the last eight meetings and leads the all-time series 14-11.