Men’s Volleyball Clinches Regular Season MIVA Title

Geoff Powell’s final season at Lewis is on the verge of becoming historic.

David Ridderhoff, Sports Editor

While the regular season Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association title isn’t the biggest award the Lewis University men’s volleyball team is shooting for this season, the title does give them home-court advantage in the MIVA Tournament.

“I think that’s really important,” said head coach Dan Friend. “It can be a double-edged sword. There could be distractions, but the guys should be comfortable at home.”

The men have not lost since their five-set defeat at the hands of Ohio St. on March 13, winning their final nine matches to finish the season at 24-2 overall and 15-1 in MIVA play.

“We made some tactical changes to what we were doing offensively,” Friend said. “They noticed what we were doing, so we worked on it for the past month.”

Following their victory over Loyola at the Neil Carey Arena, the Flyers sat just four games away from postseason play. If they were to win all four matches, they would win the regular season MIVA championship outright. The Flyers did have one tough match remaining, however, which was their rematch against Ohio St.

The Flyers took to the road before that rematch and dominated two of the lesser MIVA teams, sweeping both Lindenwood and Quincy. The Flyers went straight through Lindenwood, not allowing the Lions to get more than 14 points in any set. The Flyers had a .524 attack percentage and nine service aces in their dominating victory.

While their match against Quincy was closer, the Flyers still felt comfortable in their sweep. They allowed 20 points in two of the three sets but used consistency on serve, serving only six errors to put away the Hawks.

“We had a bit of a hangover last time [we beat Loyola],” Friend said. “The guys made sure we kept going this time and avoided that upset.”

While it took five sets for the Buckeyes to upset Lewis earlier in the season, the men used their home-court advantage and stellar defense to sweep the upset-minded Buckeyes. The team accrued 18.5 blocks on the match and held Ohio St. to a .063 attack percentage in the match—a huge difference from their .363 percentage March 13.

The Flyers did get quite the scare from McKendree. Friend was planning on sitting quite a few players in favor of graduating seniors. After dominating the first two sets, the Flyers lost the third set to a Bearcat team that had only one victory in MIVA play, and trailed in the fourth before Friend inserted his starters who finished off McKendree.

“They have a young talented group of guys,” said Friend. “We may have let off the gas pedal a little bit, and they took advantage. It was a good team win; our goal was to win the league outright.”

MIVA conference tournament play kicked off this past weekend when the Flyers hosted Grand Canyon in the quarterfinal matchup. A MIVA championship may be enough to finalize the Flyers at No. 1 in both men’s volleyball polls. At the end of regular-season play, the Flyers were rated No. 1 in the RPI poll, however, they sat behind the University of Hawaii in the AVCA Coaches Poll. In the latest poll, changes were made, making the Flyers No. 1 in both polls.

“We want to win the conference bid. We don’t want to consider an at-large bid,” Friend said. “Our focus is on postseason play and taking care of each game one at a time.”

For now, the Flyers are just looking to beat opponents on their way to a MIVA crown. While teams like BYU, Loyola and Hawaii still will be tough tests for the Flyers, they’ve proven that they can compete against tough teams, and hope to continue to show that.

Due to deadline, we are unable to report the outcome of this match.

To see the results, check lewisflyers.com.

David Ridderhoff is a junior Radio/TV broadcast major. He is the sports editor for The Flyer. He is also the general manager of Lewis’ radio station, WLRA. As an avid sports fan, he also collects hats and jerseys from a variety of sports teams.

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