The Loras College men’s volleyball team (9-5, 8-4 CCIW) needed a three-set win against No. 10-ranked North Central College (11-4, 8-4 CCIW) to take the No. 2 seed for the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) tournament and the Duhawks did just that, honoring its senior class of Andres Martinez (’21), Patrick Hollander (’21) and Chris Omiecinski (’21) on Saturday with an upset 3-0 win against the conference rival.
Dorian Fiorenza (’23) helped the Duhawks get the energy going to open the first set with a kill before Tucker Ziegenhorn (’24)added another and Jake Filotto (’23)came up with a block to put Loras up, 3-1. Both teams battled back and forth until North Central went on a burst to take a 9-7 lead. Martinez hit a kill to come within one and a kill by Ziegenhorn knotted the score, 10-10. The Cardinals took back the lead until Patrick Mahoney (’22) hit a kill that stunned the Cardinals’ defense, causing the opponent to commit three-straight errors to force North Central to call a timeout with Loras leading 15-13. The Cardinals came back to post four-straight and take a narrow 17-16 lead until Mahoney hit a kill to tie it 17-17. Throughout the final part of the set, both teams traded points, vying to win the first and hold the advantage, but a kill by Fiorenza and a massive block by him and Martinez settled the set, 28-26.
Horn opened the second set for the Duhawks with an ace and another ace by Fiorenza as well as kills by Ziegenhorn, Mahoney and Filotto put Loras up, 8-5. North Central came back within one point but Filotto put the team on his back for three straight points, hitting in two kills and serving up an ace to force the Cardinals to call a timeout. North Central found a burst to tie it 12-12 but kills by Fiorenza, Ziegenhorn, Martinez and Filotto gave Loras a 19-16 edge. The Duhawks capitalized on two attacking errors by the Cardinals before Martinez, Fiorenza and Ziegenhorn tacked on three more to get the Duhawks at set point, 24-20. The Cardinals escaped set point, scoring two more, but a kill by Fiorenza ended the set and gave Loras a 2-0 lead heading into the crucial third-set.
North Central took the lead to start the third set, pulling ahead 6-4, but Loras went on a 5-0 run not long after led by Filotto and Fiorenza to regain the lead, 10-7. The Duhawks continued to add to their lead with another kill by Fiorenza and Mahoney drilled in an ace before Martinez came up with a block to grow the lead, 13-8. The Cardinals could not find the momentum as the Duhawks continued to command the final set, closing out the match with a 3-0 run to sweep the ranked Cardinals in three sets.
Fiorenza led the offense with double-figure kills, posting 14, as well as a team-high six digs, and both Ziegenhorn and Filotta had seven kills. Mahoney had two service aces and Martinez had four blocks while Horn had 36 assists in the match, ranking him tied for fifth in the single-match records.
The Duhawks will face off against the Cardinals on the next time out, hosting North Central in the semifinal match for the CCIW Tournament. Match time at Lillis Court is set for 7 P.M on Thursday, Apr.