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Loyola Chicago, Lewis make rivalry even more memorable

2015 Men’s Volleyball Championship

Lewis University and Loyola University Chicago already know each other well. Only 44 miles separates the two schools. Those two programs have finished first and second atop the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association standings each of the past three years, meeting in the conference tournament finals each time.

But this season may deserve a special note in the rivalry’s history.

First Lewis handed Loyola Chicago its only two losses of the season in their first two meetings. Then, after Lewis reached No. 1 in the national rankings, the Ramblers returned the favor in a four-set conference tournament championship victory. And that was only setting up the most memorable match of all.

Loyola Chicago appeared to have the Flyers pinned in the fourth set of the national finals, twice gaining championship points, only to see Lewis rally. The Flyers took the lead 26-25 on a triple block. Then Lewis senior Geoff Powell served an ace to force a fifth set.

It got only more dramatic from there. The match became only the third in the NCAA tournament’s history to go to extra points in the fifth set, and the 23-21 set was a tournament record for the most extra points of a fifth set. There were 12 ties and eight lead changes in that set. Loyola Chicago denied Lewis on three championship points. Finally, back-to-back blocks gave the 3-2 match victory to the Ramblers, making Loyola Chicago just the fourth program to win back-to-back NCAA championships.

“I think we gave you a match to remember for a long, long time,” Lewis coach Dan Friend said. “It'll be a fun one to go back and talk about.”

The Results
NC Men's Volleyball

CHAMPIONSHIP
Loyola Chicago def. Lewis, 21-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-27, 23-21

SEMIFINALS
Lewis def. Penn St., 25-20, 22-25, 25-16, 25-20
Loyola Chicago def. UC Irvine, 25-22, 25-19, 25-17

ELITE 89 HONOREE
Eric Fitterer, Lewis

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