Ohio State Sweeps Grand Canyon In MIVA Title Match

Ohio State Sweeps Grand Canyon In MIVA Title Match

All-Tournament Team
Ohio State – Miles Johnson (MOP)
Ohio State – Christy Blough
Ohio State – Nicolas Szerszen
Grand Canyon – Michael Milstein
Grand Canyon – Drake Silbernagel
Ball State – Matt Walsh
Lewis – Jacob Schmiegelt

Ohio State Recap
COLUMBUS, Ohio --The Ohio State University men's volleyball team punched its ticket to the 2017 NCAA Championships by blitzing Grand Canyon University in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Tournament Finals. The Buckeyes sprinted past the Antelopes -- 25-16, 25-22, 25-11 -- to capture the 16th MIVA Tournament title in school history (a league high).

Six teams will be entered in the 2017 NCAA Tournament during Sunday's NCAA Selection Show, streamed on NCAA.com at 1 p.m. ET.

Ohio State was a mission in the conference championship bout, outscoring GCU by 26 points and sending the 'lopes home in just 71 minutes. It was a parting gift for Grand Canyon in their final match as a member of the MIVA, moving to the MPSF starting next season.

Christy Blough navigated the Buckeyes to a .464 team attacking efficiency, pushing 30 assists to his Buckeye brethren. Miles Johnson was the recipient of a team-high 11 terminated connections while hitting .348. Maxime Hervoir and Nicolas Szerszen each recorded nine kills and attacked .471 or better. Driss Guessous batted a 1.000, bouncing all seven of his attempts for kills.

Hervoir inflicted the most damage defensively, getting in on seven blocks including two solo stuffs. He posted a match-high 14.5 points, nearly twice as many as any member of the GCU squad. Blake Leeson was a force in the front court as well, rejecting the Antelopes five times.

Set 1: Ohio State got it going from the jump, dropping in 17 kills in the opening frame and leading from 4-3 through the set's duration. Blough divvied up 14 assists in the set to guide the Buckeyes to a 25-16 tone-setter.

Set 2: The night's most tightly-contested frame saw six tied scores and a pair of lead changes. Ohio State capped it off in comeback fashion. Trailing 19-16, the Buckeyes went on a 9-3 run to end it 25-22.

Set 3: Floodgates opened in the third. Ohio State surged ahead 12-2 by the time GCU was burnt out of timeouts already. The Buckeyes kept the pedal to the metal from there, putting up a 25-11 exclamation point.

Grand Canyon Recap 

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The record-breaking season for the Grand Canyon men's volleyball team came to an end on Saturday evening as the Lopes were defeated 3-0 by the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes. GCU advanced to the final round of the MIVA Tournament this week after upsetting Lewis on Wednesday. The Lopes end their season with an overall record of 19-11.

"This was the service pressure we knew that they were capable of," head coach Matt Werle noted about the Buckeyes. "Ohio State played every facet of the game really well and they deserve a lot of credit. You could tell that we were fatigued from the long week."

The Lopes hosted OSU twice at home this season, falling short in both matches but pushing the Buckeyes to the limit. This time, Ohio State had the opportunity to host the Lopes and they made the most of it, winning by scores of 25-16, 25-22, and 25-11. The Buckeyes bested GCU at both the service line and at the net, out-blocking the Lopes 9-1.

Setter Michael Milstein and middle blocker Drake Silbernagel were named to the MIVA All-Tournament team following the game. Milstein led the team with 19 assists and three digs during the match while Silbernagel was the best attacker on the team, hitting .455 and knocking down six kills. Both players are seniors and were competing in their final matches as Lopes.

"I could not be more proud of this group of young men." Werle added. "Coming into this season, we were voted 6th in the MIVA. It took until the second to last week of the regular season before coaches started respecting this 'team.' I know the numbers don't show a lot tonight, but this team has accomplished so much this season. This program is moving in a direction it can be proud of. I am extremely thankful for this group."

Amongst the accomplishments for GCU this season were program-bests in overall wins and conference wins. The Lopes went 11-5 in the MIVA and earned 19 total wins. Grand Canyon also earned a national ranking for the first time, entering the AVCA polls as No. 15 and moving up to No. 14 by the end of the regular season.

GCU will return 16 players to the team next season and will have plenty of leadership as half of the returners will be seniors. After only two seasons at the helm, Werle has established the Lopes as a force to be reckoned with in men's volleyball. GCU will seek to defend this reputation next season as it transfers to the strong Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference.