Men’s Volleyball: Loyola eliminates Lewis in MIVA Finals
For the second year in a row, Loyola beat Lewis to capture the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association tournament championship Saturday in Gentile Arena.
The tournament’s No. 1 seed and the nation’s top-ranked team, Loyola (27-1) beat No. 2 seed Lewis (23-7) 25-16, 27-25, 21-25, 25-21 to win its fifth MIVA title and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Loyola will host the six-team tournament, beginning Tuesday in Chicago. No. 11 Lewis will learn its fate when bids are announced Sunday.
“We have a slim chance and if we are lucky enough to be one of those teams, that would be awesome,” Lewis coach Dan Friend said. “I think we’ve played (Loyola) well and I hope we get a shot.”
Lewis, in its third straight MIVA championship, started with a lead in three of the sets. The Flyers wasted a 22-19 lead and was a point away from winning the second set.
“It was tough because we were up late in the game, we just didn’t get points when we needed them,” junior outside hitter Geoff Powell said of the late collapse in set two.
“Each time we’ve played them this year, we’ve had a game like that,” senior setter B.J. Boldog said. “It’s about scoring points at opportune times. They did that and we didn’t do it.”
Loyola’s defense may have been the difference.
“If you look at the box score, they dug 46 balls, we dug 24,” Friend said. “Those are second chance opportunities and our passing broke down.”
“They did a great job on serve receive and they picked up some crazy balls,” said Powell, who had a match-high 22 kills.
Lewis committed nine errors in the first set and seemed to swing the momentum in the second. Lewis led 22-19 on a Loyola serving error. Loyola fought back to tie it at 22 and 24. Walsh’s block put Lewis a point away from the win. A Lewis receiving error tied it at 25. A long rally went to the Ramblers on a Lewis hitting error before Thomas Jaeschke’s kill gave the set to the Ramblers.
“We put ourselves in position (to win) in game two after some nerves in game one, but you have to pass the ball,” Friend said. “We really did a nice job, had some opportunities to score some points and didn’t do it.”
Lewis raced to a 5-0 lead to open the third set on a block by Bobby Walsh. Another block by Walsh gave the Flyers a 19-13 lead it would not relinquish.
Neither team had more than a three point lead until the final point of the fifth set. Tied at 18, Loyola scored consecutive points on Flyer errors and took it from there.
Cutline: B.J. Boldog had 44 assists for Lewis Saturday. Credit: Dennis Nelson
Cutline: Eric Fitterer, left, and James Hoffman combine on a block for Lewis Saturday. Credit: Dennis Nelson