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Colleges: Lewis men’s volleyball eyeing NCAA bid

Updated: May 5, 2014 8:56AM



The Lewis men’s volleyball team is trending.

The No. 11 Flyers (17-6) earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and 2012. If that trend continues, the Flyers will be among the six teams entered in this year’s tournament. The selection show is April 27.

“We have to get wins to put ourselves in position to host as many rounds as possible in the MIVA,” Lewis coach Dan Friend said. “We can’t take first, but if we can take second place and host a couple of rounds, that puts us in good position to do the things we want to do.”

If Lewis is to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament, it will have to run the regular-season table and do some damage in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament. Lewis, which has reached the last two MIVA tourney finals, is 7-3 and a half-game ahead of a pack of teams vying for the No. 2 seed in the MIVA Tournament. No. 1 Loyola (21-1) is 11-0 in the league a lock for the top seed.

“Every game is big in conference,” Flyers outside hitter Geoff Powell said. “Loyola is undefeated, but everybody else is scratching and clawing for a good seed for the tournament.”

Lewis has four MIVA matches left, all of them at home. The Flyers have won their last two matches, both over ranked MIVA opponents, and are 10-3 at Neil Carey Arena.

“We control our own destiny in our conference,” Friend said. “There’s no better feeling than that. We’re in good shape. First is unattainable right now, so second place is the goal and getting in (the tournament).”

“We need to stay consistent and clean things up a little bit,” setter BJ Boldog said. “Conference matches are the most important for us right now.”

“We’re definitely going to lean on our crowd the next two weekends to pull us through,” said Powell, the MIVA offensive player of the week for the second time this season.

Lewis hosts Quincy (13-14, 0-10) on Friday, Lindenwood (19-7, 4-6) on Saturday and Grand Canyon (14-13, 2-8) on April 11 and April 12. The MIVA Tournament begins April 18.

Awards for Lewis

Lewis forward Mariyah Brawner-Henley was named to the Division II Bulletin Women’s Basketball All-America Fourth Team.

After netting Women’s Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division II Coaches All-America Team Honorable Mention honors, Brawner-Henley became the first Flyer to earn All-America honors since 2007.

“With as much work as Mariyah has put in this past offseason, she is very deserving of All-America status,” said Lewis coach Lisa Carlsen, who was named the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Co-Coach of the Year for the second straight season.

Five Saints earn CCAC awards

Five St. Francis spring student-athletes were honored as the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Athletes of the Week: baseball players Jake Butler and Joe Ruge, distance runners Hilary Halford and Mike Blaszczyk and discus thrower Ryan Njegovan.



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