Setter Garrett Zolg put a damper on the chances of No. 7/4 Ball State winning the MIVA regular season championship and moved No. 11/10 Loyola to the verge of winning the title.
Zolg had the match-winning kill in the third-game overtime and guided the Ramblers to a .371 attack percentage as the team swept Ball State 25-18, 25-19, 28-26 on Thursday in Chicago.
Loyola with this victory moves into a tie with Ball State for first place in the MIVA but holds the head-to-head tiebreaker. In addition, Loyola can now clinch its first MIVA regular season championship since 2014 if it defeats Ohio State in its regular season finale on Saturday.
The Ramblers completed their sweep against the Cardinals with a comeback in the final game.
Loyola trailed 24-21 before fighting off three consecutive game points to force overtime. It also overcame another game-point in overtime and closed out the match on a 3-0 run that featured kills from outside attacker Parker Van Buren and Zolg.
Van Buren finished with a match-high 15 kills on a .448 attack percentage with eight of those kills coming in the second game.
Along with Van Buren, outside attacker Cole Schlothauer added 11 kills and hit .320. Middle attacker Jimmy Meinhart also had seven kills and zero errors on a perfect 1.000 attack percentage.
The Ramblers ended with eight aces and held the Cardinals without an ace. Zolg led all players with four aces, while Van Buren had two aces.
Outside attacker Kaleb Jenness in the loss had a team-high 15 kills on a .433 attack percentage. In addition, opposite Angelos Mandilaris contributed 14 kills.
Jenness and Mandilaris, though, were the only Cardinals to have more than one kill as Loyola ended Ball State’s 10-match winning streak
Ball State with a win would have clinched its first MIVA regular season championship since 2002. The team can still win the title and No. 1 seed for the conference tournament if it beats Purdue Fort Wayne on Saturday and Loyola loses its season finale.