Men’s volleyball: Lewis earns national semifinals
From Submitted Reports April 30, 2012 8:08PM
Lewis' Jay Petty. | File photo
Updated: June 2, 2012 8:08AM
Lewis has earned the No. 3 seed in the NCAA National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship and will play No. 2 seed Southern California at 10 p.m. Thursday in the national semifinals at the Galen Center on the USC campus.
Lewis was awarded the automatic bid after winning the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association championship Saturday against 2011 national champion Ohio State.
Thursday’s contest will be broadcast free on NCAA.com. Should Lewis defeat USC, the Flyers would advance to the national championship match 9 p.m. Saturday. The national championship match is scheduled to be aired live on ESPNU.
No. 1 seed UC-Irvine will play No. 4 seed Penn State in the other semifinal.
Lewis (26-6) is ranked No. 7 in the nation. USC (23-5) is ranked No. 1. The Flyers and Trojans haven’t played since March 5, 2008, when Lewis swept USC at the Galen Center.
Lewis advanced to the national semifinals by winning its first MIVA championship since 2004 with a wild 20-25, 25-17, 22-25, 27-25, 15-10 comeback victory at No. 10 Ohio State.
“This is a culmination of all the work that has been put in since I got here to rebuild the program and return it to where it was,” Lewis coach Dan Friend said. “Ultimately, it was this great group of guys that came through to accomplish the goal, but there have been several classes in my time at Lewis that helped us reach this pinnacle.”
The Flyers took the fifth game thanks to five kills by senior Jay Petty, who had kills for points 14 and 15. He was named the tournament MVP. Senior middle hitter Aaron Flick, sophomore setter B.J. Boldog and freshman outside hitter Geoff Powell also were selected to the all-tournament team.
The fourth game was the tightest of the match, featuring nine ties and four lead changes. Lewis was the first to game point after an attack error by Ohio State gave the Flyers a 24-23 lead. The Buckeyes denied two game points until a block by freshman Greg Petty and senior Matt Gallik (Brother Rice) gave the game to the Flyers and tied the match 2-2. Gallick finished with 12 blocks (one solo) and six kills.
“All the tough losses and great wins this year built character and made us mentally tougher to give us the opportunity to take advantage of this situation,” Friend said. “We were really good up to 15 tonight but to get those next 10 we had to grind out some points and in the fourth set we did that.”
Lewis never trailed in the fifth game. Ohio State called a timeout after Lewis gained a 6-3 lead. The big point of the frame seemed to be the next one when after the timeout, Greg Petty, Gallik and Boldog combined for a block to make it 7-3. Ohio State cut the lead to 12-10, but an OSU attack error and back-to-back kills by Jay Petty ended the match.
Jay Petty finished with 25 kills, eight digs and six blocks. Powell added 17 kills and five blocks. Flick finished with 11 kills and no errors.
“When you have four guys on the all-tournament team is shows how well everybody played,” Friend said. “But we rode Jay in many matches this year and he pulled us through tonight.”