The No. 9 and top-seeded Lewis University men's volleyball team swept the fifth-seeded Grand Canyon, 3-0, in a Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) semifinal match at Neil Carey Arena on Wednesday (April 24) to advance to the championship match.
The Flyers will host the second-seeded Loyola Ramblers in the MIVA Championship match on Saturday (April 27) at Neil Carey Arena with first serve set for 7 PM.
The Flyers, earning their 20th victory for the third-straight season, improve to 20-9 on the year while the Antelopes finish with a 17-15 record.
"This week we worked on some of things that we knew Grand Canyon did well against Ohio State," Lewis head men's volleyball coach Dan Friend said. "And we were able to out dig them, which put us in position to score.
“On Saturday, we will have to play our style of volleyball. We will have to be aggressive, take care of the net, block some balls and get good touches.”
Redshirt senior outside hitter Jay Petty (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove North) led the Flyers with 10 kills and 14 digs as redshirt sophomore outside hitter Geoff Powell (Claremont, Calif./Claremont) earned 13 putaways. Freshman middle hitter Bobby Walsh (Chicago, Ill./Mount Carmel) picked up four block assists and seven kills. Redshirt junior BJ Boldog (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) tallied 34 assists and nine digs while libero Eric Butch (Park Ridge, Ill./Maine South) had 12 digs.
In the first set, the Flyers held the Antelopes to a -.038 hitting percentage (6 kills, 7 errors, 26 attempt) while hitting at a .290 clip (12 kills, 3 errors, 31 attempts). Lewis also out-blocked Grand Canyon, 4.5 team blocks to 1.5, as both Jay Petty and Walsh each earned 1.5 blocks in the set.
Lewis took a five-point lead at 18-13 on a kill by Powell in the second set before Grand Canyon went on a 8-3 run to tie the set at 21-all. The Antelopes picked up kills from Gerrard Lipscomb and Jordon Tarantino, as well as five Flyer errors for points. Lewis scored four out of the next six points to take the set, getting a block from the duo of sophomore opposite Eric Fitterer (Edwardsville, Ill./Edwardsville) and junior middle hitter Yiwei Zhou (Nanjing, China/Nanjing No. 1) as well as kills from Powell and Fitterer and a Grand Canyon error for the set win.
In a close third set, the Flyers were able to break away at 21-18, after two unforced errors by the Antelopes and a kill by sophomore outside hitter Greg Petty (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove North). Powell and Walsh each earned four kills as Jay Petty dug eight balls and had three kills as the Flyers went on to take the set.
Grand Canyon's Tarantino posted a match-high 16 kills while setter Keith Smith earned 24 assists.
Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.
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