FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Despite a career-high 24 kills from Pelegrin Vargas, No. 14 Fort Wayne fell to No. 6 Loyola Chicago 3-2 (27-25, 25-19, 23-25, 18-25, 15-12) on Arnie Ball Court on Friday (Feb. 16)
Fort Wayne and Loyola traded points for most of the first set, and the Mastodons even had a set point opportunity. Both squads hit .308 for the set, and Vargas led the ‘Dons with seven first-set kills.
The Ramblers took an early lead in the second, jumping to a 6-1 lead. The ‘Dons did not get any closer than two points to Loyola in the set. The Ramblers hit .571 for the set.
The Mastodons trailed the majority of the first half of the third set, but after a timeout at 15-13 Loyola, the ‘Dons went on a 6-3 run to take the lead. This was capped off by a service ace from Kade Bontrager. Colton Stone had an ace of his own in a mini-run of three straight just a few points later. Vargas had seven more kills in the third. Kolbie Knorr had six digs to lead a 15-dig third set for the ‘Dons.
The ‘Dons jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the fourth before Loyola answered with a 5-1 run. The set was back-and-forth until the Mastodons went on a 7-2 run to open up a 24-16 lead. Tony Price finished up the set to even at two apiece with a kill. Price had four, and Vargas had five to charge the ‘Dons back. Fort Wayne had 17 digs in the fourth set alone.
Loyola led 8-6 at the switch in the fifth, but a kill from Vargas evened the score at 10 each. He hit .383 for the match. Loyola went on to snag five of the final seven points of the match.
Michael Keegan finished with a double-double, earning 47 assists and 12 digs. Knorr finished with 10 digs. Price finished with 11 kills and eight digs, and Stone had a 12-2-27 line for .370 with eight digs, as well as three aces. Fort Wayne ended with 49 digs as a team and nine aces, both season-highs.
Fort Wayne falls to 9-3, 1-2 MIVA and Loyola improves to 10-2, 3-0. The Mastodons return to the court on Saturday (Feb. 17) to face No. 8 Lewis. The Flyers are coming off a straight-set loss to Ball State.