Top-seeded and seventh-ranked Ohio State, the two-time-defending NCAA champions, advanced to Saturday’s MIVA title match by getting past fourth-seeded Lewis 25-9, 25-17, 22-25, 20-25, 15-8 on Wednesday night.
In the other semi, second-seeded Loyola beat Ball State 22-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-22.
Saturday’s winner gets the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA tournament field of seven, which includes the five conference champions plus two at-large bids.
Two of the other four NCAA Division I-II men’s conferences have semifinals Thursday. In the MPSF at top-seeded BYU, second-seeded and second-ranked UCLA (23-6) plays No. 13 and fourth-seeded Concordia (16-14), while No. 4 BYU (20-6) takes on sixth-seeded USC (8-19), an upset winner over Pepperdine in the quarterfinals.
In the EIVA, the semifinals at top-seeded George Mason, pit Penn State (15-10) against Harvard (11-13) and then Princeton (11-15) versus Mason (17-11).
The inaugural Big West Tournament starts Thursday at Long Beach State with quarterfinals. Third-ranked and third-seeded UC Irvine (20-8) plays sixth-seeded UC San Diego (9-18) and then 12th-ranked and fifth-seeded UC Santa Barbara (11-12) faces No. 9-ranked and fourth-seeded CSUN (15-10).
The semifinals are Friday at top-seeded Long Beach State where the top-ranked 49ers (24-1) and No. 6 Hawai’i (18-7) await.
Conference Carolinas has its semifinals Friday as top-seeded King (21-5) plays Belmont Abbey (13-15) and second-seeded Barton (20-7) takes on Mount Olive (16-12). The final is Saturday.
Ohio State, Loyola advance: The Buckeyes (22-5) are in the MIVA title match for the third year in a row, while Loyola (23-6) is back for the first time since 2015 when it won the NCAA title.
Jake Hanes led Ohio State with 18 kills as he hit .314. He added three digs and seven blocks and had three of his team’s seven aces. Nic Szerszen became the OSU all-time kills leader as he had 15 to go with 10 digs and three blocks, one solo. Szerszen, now Ohio State’s leader in kills, points and aces, passed Steve Potter, who had 1,602 kills from 1992-95. Maxime Hervoir added 12 kills, hit .346, and had seven digs and five blocks.
The win was also the 699th of coach Pete Hanson’s career. Just former UCLA coach Al Scates (1,239) and Ball State’s Don Shondell (769) have won more.
Lewis will hold out slim hopes for an at-large NCAA bid, but mostly likely the Flyers season is over at 19-11. Ryan Coenen led with 18 kills, two digs and two blocks. Tyler Mitchem and Kyle Bugee had six kills each as their team hit .148
Loyola hit .323, led by Collin Mahan. He had 16 kills, hit .424 and had three of his team’s nine aces. He added six digs and five blocks, one solo. Ricky Gevis had 12 kills, an ace, six digs and three blocks an Jeff Jendryk had nine kills, hit .412, and had three digs and seven blocks, two solo. Ryan Jamison, who had eight kills, and Avery Aylsworth had 17 digs each.
Ball State ended its season 18-12. Ben Chinnici led with 15 kills and hit .324 to go with eight digs. Matt Walsh had 12 kills, a dig and three blocks. Their team hit .182