No. 12 Lewis made No. 2/2 Ohio State work extremely long for its first conference championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in five years.
Ohio State after relinquishing a two-game lead rallied to beat Lewis 25-18, 25-17, 23-25, 17-25, 15-12 in the MIVA Tournament finals on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.
Outside attacker Nicolas Szerszen finished with a match-high 21 kills on a .312 attack percentage. This was the fourth time this season that the 2016 MIVA Player of the Year and Karch Kiraly Award finalist had at least 20 kills in a match.
All-conference opposite Miles Johnson also added 16 kills against the Flyers.
Ohio State late in the third game was hitting more than .400 before Lewis rallied to win games three and four and force a decisive fifth game. The Buckeyes finished the match out-hitting the Flyers .293 to .260, including having a .467 attack percentage and one attack error in the fifth game.
Ohio State had three players with multiple aces and finished with eight aces — one more than Lewis. Outside attacker Christian Franceschi also had the match-winning ace to secure the Buckeyes’ first MIVA Tournament championship since 2011, when the program last won the NCAA championship.
Outside attacker Mitch Perinar, the 2016 MIVA Freshman of the Year, led Lewis with 17 kills. In addition, freshman outside attacker Julian Moses had 13 kills.
All-American middle attacker Bobby Walsh in his final college match finished with a match-high six blocks and added eight kills on a .583 attack percentage against the Buckeyes.
With this victory, Ohio State extends its winning streak to a nation-best 20 matches entering the NCAA Tournament.
The Buckeyes are projected to the No. 2 seed and earn a bye to the NCAA Tournament semifinals, according to the latest Off the Block bracketology.