Duhawks earn 1st playoff berth in program history

Men’s volleyball team is riding a 5-game winning streak

The Loras College men’s volleyball team is currently on a 5-0 win streak, all of which have been on the road. Because of the team’s recent conference wins over schools like Adrian College, Olivet College, Fontbonne University, and Greenville University, Loras College men’s volleyball team receives their first postseason berth and earns a spot in the MCVL conference tournament.

The men’s volleyball team celebrates a kill from senior Dylan Ross.

“Making the conference tournament for the first time is a huge accomplishment for our program and our teams,” said senior middle blocker Austin Kuchenbecker. “It’s incredibly satisfying and a point of pride for all of us.”

When the team first hit the road on Friday, March 23, their goal was to win out because one loss could potentially mean having that playoff berth slip out of their hands. The most weighted game was on Friday, April 6, against Fontbonne University.

The five set thriller decided who would earn the last spot in the play-offs. The scores from the record breaking match were 19-25, 28-26, 25-20, 25-27, 15-13. Highlights of the match included several team and individual records being broken. The men’s volleyball team broke the single-match kill record with a total of 74 and also the assist record with a total of 68. The record breaking is just getting started with a program record of 26 kills from first-year outside hitter Mihajlo Gomez. Gomez was closely followed by senior outside hitter Dylan Ross with 21 kills which now ranks as the program’s second of all time kills in a single match.

Photo by Natalie Droeske — Junior Austin Kuckenbecker prepares to serve.

First-year right-side hitter/setter Joe Jendra also performed well, tying senior libero Blair Anderson’s single match record, tallying 21 digs. Senior setter Alfredo Lopez paced the offense and broke his own previous assist record tallying 64 assists. Throughout the duration of the match, both teams went point for point. There were small runs of two or three points which would determine the winner of the set.

“I wouldn’t have that record if it wasn’t for Dylan (Ross) and Blair (Anderson) passing dimes. I wouldn’t have it if  Jendra didn’t tie the school record for digs in a game, the middles always being up giving me one-on-ones, and of course Alfredo (Lopez) always putting the ball in the perfect spot. It’s nice, but I can’t do it without all the guys that support me,” said Gomez.

Looking ahead, the Duhawks are playing number one seed North Central in Naperville, IL, on Friday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. The last time these two teams met earlier this season, North Central took the upper hand in a 3-1 match. However, since that match, the Duhawks have been on an impressive five game winning streak which they hope to continue expanding upon in the postseason.

“Friday, we’re going to play our hearts out, we may be the bottom seed in this tournament but that doesn’t mean we can’t win,” said Gomez. “I’m confident going into this weekend.”

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Jon is currently a junior who is double-majoring in Media Studies and Public Relations. He is heavily involved at Loras as a campus photographer, residential adviser, and a sports editor for the school newspaper, The Lorian.

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