Ohio State offense too much, beats Lindenwood in MIVA finals

Photo by Vinnie Lopes

Michael Wright more than 90 minutes before the start of the MIVA Tournament finals was the first Ohio State player on the court.

The All-MIVA setter calmly sat on the bench by himself and put his head down to look at his phone for a few minutes. It was a few moments of silence before the biggest match of the season.

As the more Ohio State players started to trickle out onto the court, Wright got up from the bench and walked back to the locker room to put his phone away.

Wright was locked in from that point.

The senior guided the offense to a .412 attack percentage as the No. 3 seed Ohio State defeated the No. 4 seed Lindenwood 20-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-16 on Saturday in Muncie, Indiana, to win back-to-back MIVA championships.

Ohio State hit more than .400 in each of the final three games en route to securing the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. In addition, all but one of the Ohio State starters finished with more than a .300 attack percentage.


Outside attacker Jacob Pasteur led all players with a match-high 18 kills on a .394 attack percentage.

Opposite Shane Wetzel added 13 kills and hit .321, including having game-high five kills in the final game. Middle attacker Justin Howard added seven kills on a .667 attack percentage, while middle attacker Cole Young contributed six kills on a .556 kills.

The two middle attackers also had a combined two attack errors against Lindenwood.

Along with the offensive performance, Young had a match-high eight blocks. The Buckeyes in the victory finished with 10.5 blocks – 6.5 more blocks than the Lions.

Libero Thomas Poole defensively added a match-high 10 digs and in serve receive limited Lindenwood to three aces for the match.

Both pin-hitters Ian Schuller and AJ Lewis in the loss led Lindenwood with 14 kills.

Lindenwood making its first MIVA Tournament finals appearance in program history hit .248 and was limited to a match-worst .133 attack percentage in the final game.

Young in the fourth game had four blocks highlighted with back-to-back blocks as part of a 6-0 run to give the Buckeyes an eight-point lead. Young also delivered the match-winning kill.

Ohio State held Lindenwood to a .185 attack percentage in the third-game victory. Pastuer had a block and a kill on back-to-back plays early in the third game to jumpstart a 7-2 run for the Buckeyes.

Pasteur led all players with six kills in the Buckeyes’ second-game win to even the match. In addition, In addition, the 2023 MIVA Player of the Year had an ace early in the second game to give Ohio State the lead.

Schuller had a block and an ace as part of a 3-1 run midway through the first game to give the Lions a three-point lead that they would not relinquish. Schuller also had a team-high five kills as Lindenwood hit .500 in the opening-game victory.

Ohio State with this victory has now won five MIVA championships since 2016. The Buckeyes will advance to the eight-team NCAA Tournament and are projected to be the No. 6 seed, according to the latest Off the Block bracketology.