The preseason favorite to win the MIVA lived up to all the expectations.
No. 5/3 Lewis limited its rival No. 10/9 Loyola to less than a .150 attack percentage en route to a 25-18, 25-22, 25-21 road victory to clinch the MIVA regular season championship on Thursday in the Molten/Off the Block National Match of the Week.
The win for Lewis (16-2, 11-2 MIVA) secures the No. 1 seed and home court advantage in the MIVA Tournament that starts next week.This is the Flyers’ second consecutive MIVA regular season title and their fourth regular season title in the last 10 years.
Loyola (13-4, 9-4 MIVA) entered this two-match regular season finale in second place in the MIVA and in the nation’s top 10 for attack percentage. The Ramblers, though, were held to a season-low .124 attack percentage, including hitting zero in the second game.
The Flyers out-blocked the Ramblers 11 to 6.5 with All-American middle attacker Tyler Mitchem having a match-high five blocks. Setter Kevin Kauling and middle attacker TJ Murray each contributed four blocks to help Lewis extend its winning streak to eight matches.
Outside attacker Kyle Bugee also led all players defensively with 10 digs.
Bugee was one of two Flyers with double-digit kills. The All-MIVA senior had 10 kills on a .364 attack percentage, while All-American outside attacker Ryan Coenen had a team-high 13 kills.
Despite having the nation’s second-best attack percentage at .388, Lewis hit .264 in the sweep.
Loyola outside attacker Cole Schlothauer in the loss had a match-high 14 kills, and opposite Luke Denton contributed 11 kills. Schlothauer and Denton were the only Ramblers to have more than three kills.
The Ramblers remain in second place and can clinch the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament if they can beat the Flyers in the series finale on Friday.