NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Loyola University New Orleans volleyball team defeated conference foe Faulkner 3-1 (20-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-19) Thursday evening in The DEN. Three Wolfpack players led the way with double digit kill numbers.
Loyola (16-10, 8-4 SSAC) started a little sloppy, dropping the first set against the Eagles. Despite the rocky start, the Wolfpack picked up the momentum and finished strong winning the next three in a row. The match featured 19 ties and six lead changes as both as both teams battled neck-and-neck throughout.
Junior Kailey Tuthill and freshman Lauren Brand tallied 12 kills a piece while freshman O’Neal McMullan had 11. Senior Ashley England also added nine kills and hit 0.353 on her senior night. Junior setter Samantha Worsham posted her 16th double-double of the season with a match-high 42 assists and 12 digs. Senior libero Amanda Oldani added 17 digs and Tuthil had 10.
“We got off to a slow start tonight losing the first set,” said Coach Tommy Harold. “We went out there in the next three sets and took care of business. Once we got our emotions in check, we got on a roll, and we were able to separate from Faulkner.”
Loyola honored four seniors, Gina Gill, Ashley England, Kaki Johnson, and Amanda Oldani before the match. This was their home match of the season.
“Senior night is always exciting,” Harold added. “There are so many emotions for both the seniors and the underclassmen.”
The Wolfpack dropped the first set 20-25 as the Eagles seemed to seize control of the match from the outset. Faulkner jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the early going, but Loyola fought right back to keep the set within a point. Faulkner led or held a share of the lead for the remainder of the first set on their way to a 1-0 match lead. The Wolfpack pulled within one point on multiple different occasions.
Loyola won the second set 25-19 to tie the match at 1-1. The ‘Pack again got off to a rocky start quickly falling 1-4 but again quickly regrouped going on a 16-5 run to seize control. From there, the Eagles slowly crept back with a couple of points here and there, but could not withstand the Loyola attacking force.
Loyola won the critical third set by another 25-19 margin, despite Faulkner’s best efforts. The Wolfpack took a quick 4-0 lead at the beginning of the set before a furious Faulkner rally that eventually gave the Eagles the lead. A decisive service ace by senior Kaki Johnson put the ‘Pack back on track. Back-to-back kills by England and Brand in addition with some Eagle errors solidified the set win for the ‘Pack.
The Wolfpack rounded out the match with a 25-19 victory to finish strong. Faulkner came out on fire jumping on top of the ‘Pack 5-0. Kills by Tuthill and Brand helped the ‘Pack get back in the fourth set. Loyola held their ground and stayed with the Eagles before slowly pulling away by three points with kills from Brand and Tuthill.
Faulkner drops to 18-16 and 2-10 in the SSAC. Kelsey Bell led the way for the Eagles as she posted a match-high 16 kills and hit 0.414. KK Lo dished out 30 assists, and Abbie Melvin contributed a match-high 24 digs
The ‘Pack heads to Jackson, Miss. this weekend for the Millsaps Volleyball tournament to round out October. Loyola competes against LeTourneau on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Legrange at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Wolfpack faces Howard Payne at 12 p.m. and Centenary College at 4 p.m. Fans can follow the ‘Pack on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/loyolawolfpack) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/loyolawolfpack).