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Ohio State Tops Loyola 3-0 In Title Contest

Ohio State Tops Loyola 3-0 In Title Contest

All-Tournament Team
Matt Walsh, Ball State
Michael Simmons, Lewis
Collin Mahan, Loyola
Ricky Gevis, Loyola
Sanil Thomas, Ohio State
Jake Hanes, Ohio State
Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State (Most Outstanding Player)

Ohio State recap
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The two-time defending national champion Ohio State Buckeyes will have the opportunity to preserve their crown as the country's best after earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Championship with a sweep (25-20, 25-23, 25-19) over No. 8 Loyola Chicago (23-7) in the MIVA Tournament Finals.

Ohio State's NCAA Tournament fate will be revealed Sunday (April 22) during the Selection Show streamed live on NCAA.com at 1 p.m. ET when the seven teams competing for a national championship are announced.. The seventh-ranked Buckeyes play next on either April 27 or May 1.

- Third consecutive MIVA Tournament title for Ohio State
- 17th MIVA Tournament title overall
- Coach Hanson's 700th career victory (700-339)
- Third straight NCAA Championship appearance

Szerszen cemented his top honor by delivering 12 kills at a .417 rate to go along with nine digs and four service aces in the finals bout versus Loyola. His 16.5 points were followed closely by 15 apiece for Hanes and Maxime Hervoir. Thomas was masterful in steering the offensive ship, dishing out 40 assists (13.33/set) as the Buckeyes attacked .307 and out-killed Loyola 47-29.

Points were aplenty from the service stripe with Ohio State blitzing the Ramblers for nine aces. The Buckeye defensive effort was stellar, too. Six different players posted three or more digs and at least one block to limit Loyola's potent offense to a modest .244 attacking clip.

SET 1: The opening frame saw Thomas assist on all 16 Ohio State kills, connecting with Szerszen for a team-high seven terminations. Szerszen's first put-away lifted the Buckeyes ahead for good at 3-2, leading the rest of the way in a 25-20 triumph.

SET 2: Conditions were a bit murkier in the second stanza. Loyola doubled up the Buckeyes early on, racing out to a 10-5 edge. Ohio State countered with an 11-4 run though, jumping ahead 16-14 to force LU's first timeout. The Ramblers second T.O. came following an Hervoir kill to give OSU a 23-21 advantage. The next four rallies split, resulting in a 25-23 winner for the Scarlet & Gray.

SET 3: Loyola's two-timeout allowance was spent only 10 points into the third, falling behind 8-2. The Buckeyes eliminated costly attacking errors to swing an even .500 (15-2-26) in the final frame. Ohio State's edge would shrink to three as late as 20-17 with the Ramblers fighting until the very end, but the Buckeyes ultimately shut the door 25-19.

Loyola recap
COLUMBUS, Ohio (April 21, 2018)

In Short
Top-seeded Ohio State (23-5) hit .307 and had three players post double-digit kills to upend No. 2 seed Loyola University Chicago (23-7), 25-20, 25-23, 25-19, tonight at St. John Arena in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament title match. With the win, the Buckeyes earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

How It Happened
Seventh-ranked Ohio State broke free early in a battle of the MIVA regular season co-champions, using a 4-1 run in set one to turn a 5-5 tie into a 9-6 lead. The Buckeyes' lead would grow to as many as five points on a handful of occasions in the opening set, but eighth-ranked Loyola mounted one final push late in the match after a Rambler service error stretched the OSU advantage to 20-15. A pair of Ohio State errors, sandwiched around a Dane Leclair service ace, trimmed the deficit to 20-18, but the Buckeyes reclaimed control by tallying three consecutive points to bump the lead back to five and they never looked back on their way to a 25-20 decision.

Loyola bounced back in set two and when it rattled off five unanswered points early on, it found itself in possession of a 10-5 lead. But, Ohio State picked itself up off of the mat and countered with an 11-4 run to claim a 16-14 lead, although the Ramblers would claw their way back on top, retaking the lead at 20-19 on a Buckeye hitting error. Consecutive points put the hosts back on top, but another OSU service error knotted the score for a final time at 21. Kills from Jake Hanes and Maxime Hervoir provided Ohio State with the lead for good and a few points later a kill from Collin Mahan brought the Ramblers within a tally, at 24-23, but Hervoir closed out the set with a kill for a 25-23 OSU victory.

Ohio State took control of the third set from the get-go, storming out to an 8-2 lead. Loyola punched back, stringing together a 6-2 run that closed the gap to 10-8, but that is as close as the Ramblers would get the remainder of the way.

A Look At The Numbers
- Mahan finished with a team-high nine kills and added five digs and four blocks, while hitting at a .421 (9-1-19) clip, to lead Loyola, which hit .244 as a team.
- Avery Aylsworth totaled a match-high 10 digs and Ricky Gevis added seven kills.
- Hanes led Ohio State with 13 kills and pitched in six digs.
- Mahan and Gevis were named to the MIVA All-Tournament Team along with Michael Simmons (Lewis), Matt Walsh (Ball State), Sanil Thomas (Ohio State), Hanes and Most Outstanding Player Nicolas Szerszen (Ohio State).

Up Next
Loyola will await its postseason fate when the NCAA pairings are announced tomorrow on NCAA.com.