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Volleyball Team Clinches Tourney Berth Despite Losses

01-09 Stanford Aaron Suozzi (78)

Photo credit: Aaron Suozzi

01-09 Stanford Aaron Suozzi (78)
Written by: Brice VanceApril 13, 2016

The IPFW men’s volleyball team clinched a spot in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association conference tournament despite dropping the final two games of the regular season to Loyola and Lewis.

In the first match April 8, the Mastodons lost a heart-breaking, five-set match to the Loyola Ramblers.

In the first set of game, IPFW jumped out to a 10-6 lead, which forced the Ramblers to call a timeout.

The teams traded kills before two errors by the Ramblers and an Alex Harthaller service ace extended the lead 15-10 and another timeout was called by Loyola.

The Ramblers closed the gap to three points, but the Mastodons got two kills by Andrew Sellan and two more by Harthaller to win the first set 25-21.

In the second set, IPFW held an 11-10 lead before Loyola went on a 12-6 run. The run was filled by seven Mastodon errors.

IPFW came back in the set with a small 6-3 run before the Ramblers took the second set 25-23.

The Mastodons dominated the third set when they capitalized on good defense and had four aces, including one by David Frazee and three by Harthaller.

In the fourth set, IPFW and Loyola traded points until the set was tied 19-19. The Mastodons took the next four of six points to take a 23-21 lead. Three attack errors by IPFW gave the lead back to the Ramblers and forced a timeout by head coach Ryan Perrotte.

The Mastodons tied it up at 24, but a kill and an attack error gave Loyola the set and tied the match at two.

In the fifth set, IPFW fell behind 13-8 but closed the gap to two with three straight kills. Loyola took the set and the match after an IPFW service error and a Loyola kill.

Harthaller led the way in kills for the Mastodons with 19 to go along with his five aces. Senior Luis Bertran had double-digit digs, 11, during the match for the 16th time this season.

After the loss, the Mastodons traveled 31 miles southwest to Romeoville, Ill. to face the Lewis Flyers.

In the first set, IPFW tied it at six before the Flyers jumped out ahead 11-7. The Mastodons got within three at the 16-13 point in the set but that was the closest they would get for the rest of the set. Lewis went on a four-point run and went on to win the set 25-18.

Early in set number two, both teams had three-point runs of their own before the Mastodons went on another 3-0 run to take the lead at 10-9 and forced a timeout by the Flyers.

Lewis took back the lead they went on a 7-3 run, which gave Perrotte reason to a call a timeout.

IPFW crept back in the set, but errors by the Mastodons gave the Flyers their second set of the match.

The third set was controlled by Lewis early on with more errors by IPFW and the potent Flyer offense as they took a commanding 10-4 lead.

The Mastodons got back within three after two errors by Lewis, then the tables turned back in the favor of the Flyers who then rattled off five straight points. Lewis took the match after they won the final set 25-19.

Andrew Sellen led the way for the Mastodons with eight kills and Michael Keegan had eight digs for the match.

Even after the two losses during the weekend, IPFW clinched the eighth seed for the MIVA conference tournament. It sets up a matchup with the No. 1 seed in the tournament, Ohio State, April 17 in Columbus, Ohio. The Mastodons lost both regular-season matches and were able to win take one set from the Buckeyes this season.