COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The two-time defending national champion Ohio State Buckeyes will have the opportunity to preserve their crown as the country's best after earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Championship with a sweep (25-20, 25-23, 25-19) over No. 8 Loyola Chicago (23-7) in the MIVA Tournament Finals.
— OSU Men's Volleyball (@OhioState_MVB) April 22, 2018
Ohio State's NCAA Tournament fate will be revealed Sunday (April 22) during the Selection Show streamed live on NCAA.com at 1 p.m. ET when the seven teams competing for a national championship are announced.. The seventh-ranked Buckeyes play next on either April 27 or May 1.
🌰 Third consecutive MIVA Tournament title for Ohio State
🌰 17th MIVA Tournament title overall
🌰 Coach Hanson's 700th career victory (700-339)
🌰 Third straight NCAA Championship appearance
Three Buckeyes were named to the 2018 MIVA All-Tournament Team, including the event's Most Outstanding Player Nicolas Szerszen. He has now had three consecutive MIVA All-Tournament Team selections and this marks his second `MOP' recognition (also in 2016). Jake Hanes and Sanil Thomas joined Szerszen on the '18 all-tourney squad.
2018 MIVA ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Matt Walsh, Ball State
Michael Simmons, Lewis
Collin Mahan, Loyola
Ricky Gevis, Loyola
Sanil Thomas, Ohio State
Jake Hanes, Ohio State
Nicolas Szerszen, Ohio State (Most Outstanding Player)
Szerszen cemented his top honor by delivering 12 kills at a .417 rate to go along with nine digs and four service aces in the finals bout versus Loyola. His 16.5 points were followed closely by 15 apiece for Hanes and Maxime Hervoir. Thomas was masterful in steering the offensive ship, dishing out 40 assists (13.33/set) as the Buckeyes attacked .307 and out-killed Loyola 47-29.
Points were aplenty from the service stripe with Ohio State blitzing the Ramblers for nine aces. The Buckeye defensive effort was stellar, too. Six different players posted three or more digs and at least one block to limit Loyola's potent offense to a modest .244 attacking clip.
SET 1: The opening frame saw Thomas assist on all 16 Ohio State kills, connecting with Szerszen for a team-high seven terminations. Szerszen's first put-away lifted the Buckeyes ahead for good at 3-2, leading the rest of the way in a 25-20 triumph.
SET 2: Conditions were a bit murkier in the second stanza. Loyola doubled up the Buckeyes early on, racing out to a 10-5 edge. Ohio State countered with an 11-4 run though, jumping ahead 16-14 to force LU's first timeout. The Ramblers second T.O. came following an Hervoir kill to give OSU a 23-21 advantage. The next four rallies split, resulting in a 25-23 winner for the Scarlet & Gray.
SET 3: Loyola's two-timeout allowance was spent only 10 points into the third, falling behind 8-2. The Buckeyes eliminated costly attacking errors to swing an even .500 (15-2-26) in the final frame. Ohio State's edge would shrink to three as late as 20-17 with the Ramblers fighting until the very end, but the Buckeyes ultimately shut the door 25-19.