It’s hard to knock off the defending champion, especially when All-MIVA setter Kevin Kauling is on the court
Kauling guided the offense to a .517 attack percentage in the final three games as the No. 4 seed Lewis rallied from a two-game deficit to beat the No. 5 seed Ohio State 19-25, 27-29, 25-23, 25-19, 15-10 in the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals on Saturday in Romeoville, Illinois.
Lewis committed one attack error in the fourth game and then zero errors in the fifth game to complete the postseason comeback. In addition, the Flyers closed out the fifth game on a 5-0 run, which featured three Buckeyes attack errors, to secure the win and remain in contention for their third consecutive MIVA Tournament title.
Kauling finished with 50 assists and led Lewis to out-hit Ohio State .361 to .295. The Flyers finished the match with a better attack percentage than the Buckeyes, despite hitting a match-worst .038 in the opening game.
Outside attacker John Davis led Lewis with 16 kills on a .412 attack percentage, including having a game-high four kills in the decisive game. Opposite Christian Prayer also had 15 kills and hit .480.
Lewis won the match with All-MIVA middle attacker Tyler Mitchem being limited to nine kills on a .273 attack percentage. Mitchem finished the regular season averaging 3.25 kills per game and sixth in the nation with a .452 attack percentage.
Mitchem defensively, though, led all players with six blocks. Kauling added five blocks as the Flyers out-blocked the Buckeyes 13 to 9.
Ohio State in the loss had two players finish with more than 20 kills.
Outside attacker Jacob Pasteur had both a match-high four aces and 23 kills on a .436 attack percentage. Opposite Samuel Clark also had 23 kills on a .364 attack percentage.
Lewis with this victory will advance to play the No. 1 seed Ball State in the MIVA Tournament semifinals on Wednesday in Muncie, Indiana. The MIVA regular season champions Ball State swept the No. 8 seed Quincy in its quarterfinals match Saturday.
Ball State swept both meetings against Lewis during the regular season.