The top four seeds of the MIVA Conference faced off in semifinal matches Wednesday night with Ohio State and Loyola moving on to battle it out for the championship and the league’s automatic NCAA berth on Saturday.
No. 4 seed Lewis took on regular season champions Ohio State in Columbus, while No. 3 seed Ball State took on No. 2 seed Loyola. In the end, home court advantage and dominating blocking and serving efforts proved key to victory.
Ohio State def. Lewis 3-2 (25-9, 25-17, 22-25, 20-25, 15-8)
- Ohio State moves to 22-5; Lewis falls to 19-11
- Columbus, Ohio
- Box Score
- Lewis Recap / Ohio State Recap
- Ohio State advances to MIVA Final vs. Loyola on Saturday
Key Stats: Ohio State dominated the first set, winning 25-9 and outhitting Lewis .579 to -.300 and ending the stanza on a 19-4 run. The Buckeyes continued to dominate offensively in Set 2, before the Flyers turned the tables in Sets 3 and 4. OSU returned to form, hitting at an errorless .600 clip in the decisive fifth set. All told, the Buckeyes outhit Lewis .328 to .148, thanks in part to a 16-8 advantage in blocks. OSU also bested the Flyers in kills (56-41) and aces (7-2).
Stat Leaders: Redshirt freshman opposite Jake Hanes led a trio of Buckeyes with double-digit kills, posting 18 putaways to go with a team-best three aces and seven blocks. Senior outsides Nicolas Szerszen and Maxime Hervoir followed with 15 and 12 respectively. Szerszen rounded out a double-double with a team-high 10 digs, while redshirt junior middle Blake Leeson put up a team-leading 10 blocks.
Redshirt sophomore outside Ryan Coenen turned in 18 kills to pace the Flyers, while Sophomore outside Kyle Bugee and redshirt freshman middle Tyler Mitchem added six apiece. Bugee hit at a team-best .500 clip (6-1-10), while Mitchem hit .455. Junior setter Matt Yoshimoto notched a 32-assist, 14-dig double-double and chipped in four blocks and an ace, while redshirt junior middle Nick Vander Zanden added five stuffs.
It Was Over When: Two Szerszen kills and back to back aces by Hanes helped OSU to a 7-3 lead in Set 5. Lewis would get no closer than three the rest of the way. A Laffin ace boosted the Buckeye margin to five at 10-5, then a block and an ace by Szerszen lifted Ohio State to a 13-7 advantage and forced the Flyers’ final timeout. The break iced the server, but a bad set and hitting error sealed the OSU win and finals berth at 15-8.
? Video highlights from tonight's victory.#GoBucks pic.twitter.com/xQ29OAclDU
— OSU Men's Volleyball (@OhioState_MVB) April 19, 2018
Loyola def. Ball State 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-22)
- Loyola moves to 23-6; Ball State falls to 18-12
- Chicago, Illinois
- Box Score
- Ball State Recap / Loyola Recap
- Loyola advances to the MIVA Finals to face Ohio State on Saturday
Key Stats: Ball State kicked off the match with a .448 hitting effort, committing just one hitting error in the 25-22 win. The Cardinals fell off after that, including hitting efforts under .100 in the final two stanzas of the four-set loss. For the match, Loyola outhit BSU .323 to .182, while dominating its foes at the net to the tune of a 15-4 advantage in blocks. The Ramblers also boasted a 9-5 edge in aces and 55-41 lead in kills.
Stat Leaders: Junior outside Collin Mahan led all hitters with 16 kills on a .424 hitting effort, while also notching a team-high three aces and five blocks. Senior opposite Ricky Gevis (12), senior middle Jeff Jendryk (9), senior outside Ryan Jamison (8) and junior middle Paul Narup (7) rounded out the Rambler offense. Narup hit at a team-leading .467 clip and added six blocks, while Jendryk hit .412 and put up a team-high seven stuffs. Jamison pulled up 17 digs alongside junior libero Avery Aylsworth.
Freshman outside Ben Chinnici and senior middle Matt Walsh led the way for the Cardinals with 15 and 12 kills respectively. Chinnici hit at a .324 clip and added eight digs, while Walsh put up three blocks. Senior outside Mitch Weiler pitched in eight kills, 11 digs and two stuffs. Junior middle Parker Swartz served up three of the team’s five aces. Top hitter Matt Szews was held to just one kill in the match and hit -.200 with four errors in 15 swings.
It Was Over When: The teams tied 13 times in Set 4, last at 22, but Loyola led by as many as three at 4-1 and 8-5 before the Cardinals caught up at 9-all, sparking the string of knot-ups. Neither side led by more than two after that. Ball State took its first lead at 10-9 on a Chinnici kill and went up 17-16 on a Jake Romano ace. Trailing 19-18, the Ramblers scored four of the next five to go up 22-20, including two blocks and a kill by Jendryk. A pair of Walsh putaways leveled the score at 22, before kills by Garrett Zolg and Mahan and a ball handling error sent Loyola on to the final with a 25-22 win.