Lewis 3, McKendree 0
ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – The No. 7 Lewis men's volleyball team advanced to the MIVA Championship match for the fourth time in six years with a straight sets win over McKendree on Wednesday evening at Neil Carey Arena. The Flyers improve to 24-5 on the season while the Bearcats end their season with a record of 13-13.
Lewis, the top seed, will host Loyola, the second seed, in Saturday's championship match beginning at 7 p.m. at Neil Carey Arena. The two sides met twice in the regular season with the Flyers winning both matches by identical 3-1 scores.
Lewis hit .408 in the match while holding McKendree to a .205 hitting percentage. Mitch Perinar (Channahon, IL/Minooka) led the Flyers with 16 kills while Ryan Coenen (Franklin, WI/Franklin) finished with eight and TJ Murray (Barrington, IL/Barrington HS) added seven. Matt Yoshimoto (Ventura, CA/Adolfo Camarillo) had 31 assists and three aces. Yoshimoto set the Lewis single season record for aces in a season with his 64th ace in set two passing Bart Bachorski for the top spot. Coenen had nine digs to lead Lewis.
The opening set was even at nine when the Flyers went on an 8-1 run to grab a 17-10 lead after one of Coenen's three aces in the match. The Bearcats cut the deficit to six a couple of times but were unable to get any closer as Lewis won the opener 25-17.
The Flyers raced out to a 9-1 lead in the middle stanza and were still up eight just past the midway point when McKendree began to make a run. The Bearcats went on a 10-5 run to cut the Lewis lead to 23-20 after a service error by Coenen. The Flyers were able to close out the set though scoring two of the final three points on a pair of kills from Perinar.
Lewis used a 7-3 run early in set three to extend a one-point into a five-point cushion on a kill from Perinar. That lead grew to as many as nine points after back-to-back McKendree attack errors. The Bearcats cut the margin seven but the Flyers were able to close it out with a service error.
Ethan Carroll and Zach Schnittker led McKendree with 12 and 10 kills respectively. Ryan Serrano distributed 24 assists and had six digs.
Loyola 3, Purdue Fort Wayne 1
Loyola advanced to the MIVA Championship for the second consecutive season thanks to a four-set victory over No. 13 Purdue Fort Wayne on Wednesday (April 17). Four Ramblers tallied double-digit kills for the first time this season, while Garrett Zolg and Avery Aylsworth each registered double-digit digs.
How It Happened
Garrett Zolg's service ace tied the opening set up 8-8, but a 3-0 'Dons run gave them a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Down by as much as 20-11 at one point, Loyola battled back and trimmed the lead to four with a 5-0 run. Devin Joslyn posted back-to-back kills to anchor the stretch, while teaming up with Kyle Piekarski to snag a block. Collin Mahan trimmed the deficit to 21-18 with a back-row kill, but the 'Dons pulled away from there and took the opening set, 25-19.
Will Tischler scorched three early kills in the second set to help Loyola take an early 8-7 lead. The Ramblers rode solo blocks from Paul Narup and Piekarski to go up 13-10, but a 6-2 run by the visitors gave them their second lead of the set at 16-15. Narup responded with a kill that sparked a 6-2 run in favor of the Ramblers, putting them back in the driver's seat with a 21-18 lead. Dane Leclair and Mahan kills accounted for two of Loyola's points down the stretch to help capture the second set, 25-21.
Unlike the previous two sets, it was Loyola that captured a large advantage early. Five kills and an ace pushed the Maroon and Gold out to an 11-5 lead, and the team kept the pressure on with a 4-1 run moments later that had three more kills and an ace, widening the advantage to 15-7. In a stanza that saw 18 kills from the Ramblers, Piekarski posted one in a key spot that halted the Mastodons' momentum and maintained the team's seven-point lead. Down 20-13, Purdue Fort Wayne cut the deficit to five (21-16), but the kills kept coming for the Ramblers. Tischler, Narup, Piekarski and Mahan each got one to get Loyola its final four points and win the set 25-18 and take a 2-1 match lead.
Both Purdue Fort Wayne and Loyola enjoyed 4-0 runs early in the fourth, resulting in the Ramblers' 8-6 advantage. Later on, the Mastodons countered with a 3-0 run that thrusted them ahead, 16-14, and forced Loyola to burn a timeout. Down by two, a Zolg ace and a Mahan kill played roles in the ensuing point trading that narrowed the deficit to one, setting up Leclair's kill that tied things up at 20-20. From then on, Narup caught fire, tallying a block and two kills, one of which brought the Ramblers to set point. The 'Dons held off the celebration temporarily, but Tischler's 13th kill of the night sealed the deal on a 25-23 set four win.
A Look at the Numbers
-Avery Aylsworth's 14 digs gave him 599 for his career, putting him in sole possession of seventh all-time in program history.
-Aylsworth's 239 digs this season ranks as the sixth most in single-season program history.
-The Ramblers have hit over .300 in five consecutive matches, the longest stretch of the season doing so.
-The eight straight wins by the team is also the longest of the season.
The Ramblers head to Romeoville on Saturday (April 20) to face Lewis for the third time this season, this time for the right to go to the NCAA Tournament. First serve at Neil Carey Arena is set for 7 p.m.