Lewis Advances To Title Match With Sweep Of Loyola

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – No. 7 Lewis men’s volleyball swept No. 13 Loyola 25-17, 25-22, 25-21 on Wednesday (April 25) in a Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Semifinal match. The win advances Lewis to the MIVA Championship for the first time since 2004.
The 2012 MIVA Championship match will be played on Saturday (April 28) at No. 10 Ohio State. Ohio State is the overall No. 1 seed in the MIVA Tournament. The match will start at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT. Lewis and Ohio State split the two meetings this season.
“To have the opportunity to put themselves in the final four is what the guys have been working toward,” Lewis head coach Dan Friend said.
Second-seeded Lewis out-hit third-seeded Loyola .449 to .212 on Wednesday night at a jam-packed Neil Carey Arena. However one Flyer in particular set the tone early. Junior Jay Petty (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove North) was a perfect 7-for-7 in the first set. His early performance helped the Flyers to an eight-point win in game one.

For the match, Petty hit .714 with 17 kills on 21 attempts. His only two errors came in the third set.
The second set was the closest of the three, with 12 ties and three lead changes. Back-to-back Loyola points gave the Ramblers a 20-19 lead. Friend asked for time and the Flyers responded with four straight points. Petty had a kill and an ace in the run. A pair of Loyola hitting errors made up the other two Lewis points. Freshman Geoff Powell (Claremont, Calif./Claremont) recorded kills on points 24 and 25 for Lewis.
It looked like the match might go four sets once Loyola grabbed a 9-6 lead in the third set. A 6-1 Lewis run put the Flyers ahead 12-10 and grabbed back the momentum. The Flyers pulled away for good with four straight points that put the Flyers up 19-14. A Loyola attack error on the Flyers’ second match point gave the contest to the Flyers.
Powell finished with 12 kills. Sophomore setter BJ Boldog (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) recorded 36 assists.
“BJ delivered some great sets,” Friend said. “Jay and Geoff had some kills at key times.”
Junior libero Eric Varney (Oak Park, Calif./Oak Park/Moorpark CC) notched nine digs. Varney helped Lewis out-dig Loyola 23-22.  The Flyers were able to slow down Loyola’s Joseph’s Smalzer. In Loyola’s 3-2 victory over Lewis in March, Smalzer hit .370 with 26 kills. On Wednesday, Lewis limited Smalzer to a -.125 hitting percentage and only three kills.
Lewis had two aces, one by Petty and one by Powell. The Flyers didn’t allow a single Loyola ace. It’s the second straight match and fifth time this season Lewis has limited their opponent to zero aces.
The Flyers finish the 2012 season 16-0 at home.
“We receive great support and the guys really took advantage of the crowd tonight and fed off the energy,” Friend said.
Loyola ends their season 19-12. Lewis improves to 25-6.