Muskies fall in national title match
Athletics - posted on 4/3/2010
The Lakeland men's volleyball team suffered a 25-19, 27-25 defeat against Ohio State on Saturday night in the Division 1 national title match at the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation (NCVF) National Championships in Louisville, Ky.
The team's runner-up finish was its fourth straight among the top three in the nation and its ninth placement in the top 10 in the last decade.
"We lost to a great team," Lakeland coach Chad Schreiber said. "It hurts that we didn't play at the high level in that match that we had played at during the rest of the tournament. We're very proud of the fact that we've played in three of the past four national championship matches."
The Muskies (39-9) fought back after falling behind early in the second set, evening the match at 25-25 before the Buckeyes claimed consecutive points to take the championship.
"It felt like we lost by a lot more than we did," Schreiber said. "Ohio State plays very good defense, and we didn't have enough offense to keep out of trouble."
Lakeland reached the finals after going undefeated on the first two days and knocking off Boston College (25-16, 25-17), UW-Whitewater (19-25, 25-16, 17-15) and James Madison (25-20, 25-22) in Saturday's Gold Bracket play. The first set against Whitewater was the only set lost by the Muskies prior to the final match.
On Thursday, Lakeland beat Purdue (27-25, 25-15), Rutgers (25-17, 25-18) and Cal Poly (25-14, 25-18) in pool play to move on to Friday's championship pool play.
The Muskies cruised to wins over Cal State Fullerton (25-15, 25-19) and Long Beach State (25-17, 25-17) to reach the Gold Bracket.
"Our strong points during the tournament were blocking and serving," Schreiber said. "We suffocated some good teams along the way, including James Madison, which was on a tear entering the semifinals."
Outside hitter Joe Julkowski finished with team-highs in kills (70) and service aces (11) for the weekend. Middle hitter Avdo Omerbegovic led the Muskies with 32 blocks and collected 53 kills on a .376 hitting percentage.
Sophomore setter Mitch Wiskirchen tallied a team-best 178 assists, while sophomore libero Andrew Cheever totaled 56 digs, also a Lakeland high. Middle hitter Beau Bradshaw (Oak Lawn, Ill.) added 24 blocks.
Lakeland, which won the Wisconsin Volleyball Conference Tournament on March 13, entered the tournament ranked No. 7 in the Mizuno Men's Division I rankings.
Following the tournament, four Muskies were named to the Division I All-Tournament, or All-America, teams.
Julkowski (Carol Stream, Ill.), Omerbegovic (Chicago, Ill.) and Wiskirchen (Schaumburg, Ill.) were named first team All-Americans. It was the fourth first team honor for Julkowski and the third for Omerbegovic, while Wiskirchen was an honorable mention honoree in 2009.
Cheever (Milwaukee, Wis.) was named to the second team after garnering honorable mention accolades last season.
For more information on the 2010 NCVF National Championships, including full results, click here
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