Saturday, January 28, 2006

Loyola vs Mercyhurst

I made it to my first college level match of the year, Loyola vs. Mercyhurst. I just scheduled to work in my downtown office and then take the red line up to the Loyola stop. It takes about 40-45 minutes from my downtown office (walk plus red line) but no traffic and parking hassle.

Alumni gym is old and little dark but it serves its purpose for men's volleyball. I can walk down the CTA platform, cross the street, right to the front door of the gym. You sit right on top of the action and it gives the appearance of a bigger crowd. The parent’s don’t start getting into the gym until a few minutes before the match. The students start filling in after the match starts (typical). I got their 30 minutes early and it was almost empty.

Both teams were already doing their "pepper" warm ups when I arrived. I noticed the official warm-up (after the referee/captains meeting) consists of serving/serve receive, and then hitting with each team taking their turns. This is different than most USAV match warm-up periods which include ball control, hitting and then serving. I will have to pay attention at the next college match to see if it is a uniform practice.

Everyone expected the end result of Loyola taking the match 3-0. Unfortunately, so did Mercyhurst. It seemed they accepted they would lose and didn't really hustle after balls. They let shanked balls go without any pursuit and almost missed Loyola overpass's. Sometimes they just tipped the ball back over instead of smashing it down. The Mercyhurst front row seemed almost surprised and/or wasn't paying attention to the ball while it was on the other side of the net. They also missed getting several of their third hit down balls over the net. NO excuse for that.

Loyola looked sharp, especially their serving and digging. They attempted a couple of combinations with moderate success. Loyola’s setter kept Mercyhurst off balance resulting in lots of single and split blocks for Loyola hitters to score on.

I will try to get a Lewis match in the next week or two.

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