Columbus, Ohio – The 10th-ranked and top-seeded Ohio State (22-7 overall) men’s volleyball squad overcame a 2-1 lead by 15th-ranked and No. 2 seed Loyola-Chicago (20-6) to win 3-2 (30-28, 25-30, 26-30, 30-20, 15-11) in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament Championship match in St. John Arena Saturday night. The victory, OSU’s 12 consecutive win, gives the Buckeyes the MIVA automatic bid to the NCAA Championship Semifinals, Thursday, May 6 at Stanford. Semifinal pairings will be announced Sunday. Ohio State’s Shawn Sangrey posted a match-high 26.5 points with 22 kills, two ace serves and five assist blocks. John Klanac added 20.5 points with 19 kills and three assist blocks while Ted Schoenfeldt posted 16.5 points with nine kills and a career-high 12 total blocks (1-11). Loyola-Chicago’s Kris Berzins recorded a team-high 21 points with 17 kills, two ace serves and four assist blocks. Mike Bunting added 20.5 points with 16 kills, two ace serves and five assist blocks.
In a tight game one that saw 13 ties and two lead changes, OSU broke a three-all tie with a Sangrey kill and a Rambler error for a 5-4 lead. Trailing, 14-12, Loyola tied the match at 14 with a George Kamberos kill and an OSU error. At 20-all, a Schoenfeldt kill and a Rambler error made it 22-20, OSU. A Mike Morice kill cut the lead to 22-21. OSU made it 24-21 with kills form Sangrey and Jason Tobkin. A kill from Berzins and two Buckeye errors tied the game at 24. The Buckeyes took a 26-24 lead with a Kevin Heine kill and a Sangrey-Heine-Tobkin block. A Berzins kill made it 26-25. A Sangrey kill and two OSU errors tied the game at 27. A Rambler error and a Berzins kill tied the game at 28. Ohio State reached game point with a Steven Kehoe kill at 29-28. A Sangrey kill gave OSU a 30-28 win for the game and a 1-0 lead in the match. Ohio State hit .290 for the game to .229 for Loyola.
Game two opened with kills from Berzins and Bunting for a 2-0 lead. A Sangrey kill made it 2-1. A kill by Steve Thompson and a Rambler error made it 3-2. Loyola took a 6-2 lead with a Berzins kill, a Bunting ace serve and a kill from Kamberos to control the game. Ohio State could only get within four points late in the game before a kill from Berzins set game point at 29-24. A Tobkin kill stopped the game point at 29-25. Bunting, with a kill, ended the game at 30-25 to tie the match at one game each. The Ramblers hit .484 to OSU’s .353.
Tied at four in game three, kills from Kamberos, Berzins and Mike Hutz and two OSU errors opened a 9-4 Rambler lead. OSU trailed 22-18 when kills from Sangrey and Klanac, a Schoenfeldt-Sangrey block and a Rambler error tied the game at 22. At 24-all, kills from Kamberos, Bunting and Morice gave Loyola at 27-24 lead. A Rambler error made it 27-25. A Berzins kill and a Kehoe-Heine-Tobkin block moved the score to 28-26 Loyola. The Ramblers reached game point at 29-26 with a Thompson kill. An OSU error closed out the game at 30-26 for Loyola to give the Ramblers a 2-1 lead in the match. Loyola hit .220 in the game to .167 for Ohio State.
Loyola broke a two-all tie in game four with a kill from Morice and an ace serve from Bunting for a 4-2 lead. A Sangrey kill and his ace serve tied the game at four. Three Rambler errors, a Schoenfeldt-Kehoe block and another Sangrey ace serve opened a 9-4 Ohio State lead. Loyola trailed, 24-16, when an OSU error, a Morice-Kamberos block and a Bunting-Morice block cut the lead to five at 24-19. A Sangrey kill and back-to-back assist blocks from Sangrey and Schoenfeldt gave OSU a 27-19 lead. A Morice kill made it 27-20. A Rambler error and a Kehoe-Klanac-Schoenfeldt block set game point at 29-20. A Rambler error ended the game at 30-20 to give the Buckeyes the game win and tie the match at two games each. Ohio State hit .222 for the game to -.083 for Loyola.
With the 15-point fifth game tied at four, a Rambler error and a Schoenfeldt-Tobkin block gave OSU a 6-4 lead at Loyola called time out. At 9-7, a Thompson-Berzins-Bunting block cut the margin to one at 9-8. Assist blocks from Klanac and Heine and a Klanac-Schoenfeldt block gave Ohio State an 11-8 lead as Loyola called time out. Kills from Klanac and Schoenfeldt gave Ohio State a 13-8 lead. A Bunting kill made it 13-9. Schoenfeldt, with a kill, set match point at 14-9. An OSU error and a Hutz-Morice block stopped two match points to cut the margin to three at 14-11. Ohio State closed out the game with a Schoenfeldt kill to win the game, 15-11, and win the match, 3-2. The Buckeyes hit .312 for the game to .105 for Loyola.
Ohio State hit .262 for the match to .213 for Loyola. The Buckeyes had a 65-64 edge in kills and a 64-60 margin in assists. OSU’s Kehoe and Loyola’s Hutz each recorded 58 assists in the match. The Ramblers had an 8-7 edge in ace serves but gave up 21 service errors to 18 for Ohio State. Defensively, the Buckeyes had a 43-37 advantage in digs. OSU’s Mik Berzins recorded a match-high 13 for the Buckeyes. Ohio State had a 17.5 to 12.5 margin in team blocks. OSU’s Schoenfeldt recorded a career-high 12 blocks in the match with a solo and a career-high 11 assists.
Ohio State’s Schoenfeldt was named the Most Outstanding Player of the championship match. Joining Schoenfeldt on the all-championship team from Ohio State were Kehoe, Sangrey and Klanac. Loyola’s Hutz, Bunting and Berzins complete the team.
Quotes from Pete Hanson, Ohio State head coach
“They played great. Loyola is a good team and they played hard. They have some great kids. They had nothing to lose and they had the attitude of can you beat a team for the second time with the target on our back. I thought after game one our kids got a little tentative and Loyola got some momentum and we kind our struggled. We finally got it turned around in game four and the crowd energized us and our guys kind of got back in the right frame of mind.”
On playing defensively in game three
“We kind of got on them, our serve got better late in game three and that put them out of system and then you can get your blocks set up and you can dig a few balls, but we didn’t necessarily turn them into points. I thought if Klanac would have killed that ball when we made that dig at about 25-all to put us up one instead of them up one we would have rolled at that point in time, but he missed that ball wide and that kind of gave them a sense that they had some room to breathe and then they rolled out game three and beat us. In game four (Shawn) Sangrey got on that serving run and that just sucked the wind out of their sails and you need a guy to sometimes do that. Once he did that, that was a crazy game, and I think that momentum just built for us in game five.”
On Ted Schoenfeldt
“Probably they were thinking the same thing we were thinking about them. We’re going to set those pin-hitters because those are our guys all the time and it will be Sangrey or it will be Klanac and then Steve just decided, he got a ball on the net and a good position, and Teddy was up. We talked that if we can be fast on the front one then we can bang balls like that and Teddy pounded some balls there. And that first ball Kevin (Heine) hit kind of right out of the gates sent an exclamation point.”
On sideline support
“They’re into it. Every one of those kids in a uniform wants to play and if they aren’t out there playing then they want to help the guys that are playing. We had great support from the bench and it’s nice to see them all come together and obviously achieve that goal.”
On the win
“It feels great. That was some great volleyball. I would hope that the fans would go out of here thinking that they saw two great teams fighting for their lives to take another step and play for a national championship. You can’t say Loyola lost and that Loyola played bad. I just think that some guys stepped up in the end and made some plays and made some plays to win it. Good teams do that. For two and a half games they were a really good team and they punched us right in the mouth and we didn’t respond very well in games two and three, but finally our guys responded and hopefully that’s the mark of a champion.”
On preparation for the final four
“Just enjoy the moment. We’ll come together tomorrow and get organized once we know who our opponent is. That will be determined tomorrow at some point in time. I would expect we’ll be the four seed. We’re probably anticipating playing Stanford and what a great story that team has. Four years ago they were the worst team in the conference. Their whole mantra this year is worst to first – last place to hopefully a national championship for them. They’re playing on their home floor and it’s going to be a huge match for us. Our kids have nothing to lose and we’re riding an 8, 9, 10 game win streak and hopefully we can just play good volleyball and see what happens.”