ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – The No. 7 Lewis men's volleyball team swept No. 10 Loyola to win the 2019 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Championship on Saturday night at Neil Carey Arena. The Flyers earn the MIVA automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and improve to 25-5 on the season while the Ramblers fall to 21-8.
"It was so fun to watch," Lewis head men's volleyball coach Dan Friend said. "The guys were incredible tonight and I was there biggest fan. We were great in all facets of the game whether it was offense, defense or serving and they really embodied what we've been working on all year. I'm elated for them, for our program, for all of our alumni and excited to get to that next step."
Lewis hit .459 in the match recording 40 kills against six errors in 74 attempts and was led by Ryan Coenen (Franklin, WI/Franklin) and Julian Moses (Atlanta, GA/Atlanta International School) with 10 each. Matt Yoshimoto (Ventura, CA/Adolfo Camarillo) had 35 assists while Michael Simmons (Aurora, IL/Waubonsie Valley) finished with eight digs.
Moses was named the MIVA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player and was joined on the All-Tournament team by Coenen and Yoshimoto. Also making the All-Tournament team was Loyola's Paul Narup and Collin Mahan, Purdue Fort Wayne's Colton Stone and McKendree's Zach Schnittker.
The Flyer defense held Loyola to a .118 hitting percentage and registered 14 blocks and forced the Ramblers into 21 hitting errors. Mahan led Loyola with nine kills while Will Tischler added eight and Kyle Piekarski finished with seven. Garrett Zolg had 23 assists and Avery Aylsworth had a match-high 10 digs.
The opening set went back-and-forth and was tied at six when Lewis went on a 10-3 run to grab a 16-9 lead. Moses had a pair of kills in the run while Tyler Mitchem (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook HS), TJ Murray (Barrington, IL/Barrington HS) and Mitch Perinar (Channahon, IL/Minooka) had one apiece. The lead eventually grew to eight and the Ramblers wouldn't get closer than six points the rest of the set as the Flyers won 25-17. Lewis hit .517 in the frame recording 16 kills against one error in 29 swings.
The Flyers used a 7-2 run early in set two to break a 3-3 tie and never looked back as they led by as many as seven points in the stanza. Loyola got as close as three on a couple of occasions but Lewis pulled away down the stretch to win 25-18. The Flyers hit .550 in the middle frame with 13 kills against two errors in 20 swings.
The Ramblers used a 4-1 run in set three to take its first lead of the match at 9-8 on a kill from Piekarski. They continued to lead at 13-12 when Lewis began to seize control with a 9-2 run to build a 21-15 lead. The Flyer defense forced Loyola into five hitting errors in that run. The Ramblers cut the lead to five twice including fighting off two championship points before Coenen finished it off with a kill.
It's the first time since 2000 that Lewis has beaten Loyola three times in a season. The sweep was the 18th of the season for Lewis including the three in the MIVA Tournament. It's the most during the Friend era for three-set wins.
The Flyers will find out on Sunday (April 20) who they'll be playing, when and where as the selections will be announced on NCAA.com at 12 p.m. (CT).
Loyola fell to Lewis in three sets in the 2019 MIVA Championship at Neil Carey Arena. Collin Mahan led the Ramblers with nine kills, and he was joined by Paul Narup on the All-Tournament Team.
How It Happened
Lewis jumped out to a 10-6 lead on the back of a 4-0 run. The efficient Flyers kept getting their kills, as six more in a span of nine points extended the lead to 19-6. Collin Mahan picked up back-to-back kills late in the frame to cut it to 22-16, followed by one more from Will Tischler, but the Flyers finished off their hot start to the match with a kill to seal the 25-17 set victory.
An 4-0 run for the home team propelled them to an early 7-3 lead. A 4-1 run with a pair of Paul Narup kills worked the deficit back to three, but after a Mahan kill made it 13-10, Lewis took off. The Flyers extended the lead to 18-12 to put themselves in the driver's seat, and became the first team to the 20-point mark with back-to-back kills. Mahan (twice) and Tischler registered kills down the stretch, but the tournament's one-seed completed the victory in the second stanza, 25-18, and went up two sets to zero.
Each team benefited from an early 3-0 run that resulted in point trading. The second such stretch for the Ramblers featured kills from Mahan, Kyle Piekarski and Tischler to put Loyola up 10-8. Lewis took eight of the next 12 points to take control of the tempo of the match with a 16-14 lead. The home team benefited from another run of 5-0 to take a commanding 21-15 lead. Loyola held off two set points with kills from Mahan and Tischler, but Lewis soon secured the 25th point to complete the sweep.
A Look at the Numbers
-Collin Mahan became the first player in program history to finish his career with over 1,000 kills, 600 digs and 100 service aces.
-Mahan added one service ace in the match to finish 2019 with 49 – the seventh most for a season.
-Avery Aylsworth also went over 600 digs for his career, finishing the night with 10. His 609 career digs enters the summer with the sixth most by a Rambler for a career.
-Aylsworth's senior season total resulted in 249, the fifth most in a season in program history.
Loyola is expected to return 12 players to the 2020 team, including two-time All-MIVA first team selection Garrett Zolg.
Most Outstanding Player: Julian Moses, Lewis University
Matt Yoshimoto, Lewis University
Ryan Coenen, Lewis University
Collin Mahan, Loyola
Paul Narup, Loyola
Colton Stone, Purdue Fort Wayne
Zach Schnittker, McKendree