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The Lakeland College men's volleyball team continued to play solid, going 3-1, losing in the semifinals of the gold bracket, falling to Wisconsin Volleyball Conference foe and eventual champion, UW-Oshkosh.
The Muskies (18-14) found a new level of play and were able to make a run, falling just short of the MIVA Championship game.
Lakeland got off to a strong start with a 2-0 (26-24, 25-16) victory over Adrian College in the first round of the tournament. Freshman Alec Redlich (Wauwatosa, Wis.) led the Muskies at the net with 12 kills, while setter Dayton Erickson (Trevor, Wis.) tallied 23 assists. Lakeland put forth a solid defensive effort as well, recording 25 team digs.
In the second round, the Muskies downed the Bearcats of Cincinnati in two sets, 2-0 (25-17, 27-25). Redlich continued to play solid at the net, tallying 12 kills, while senior Beau Bradshaw (Oak Lawn, Ill.) added six kills. Senior libero Andy Cheever (Greenfield, Wis.) led the defense with nine digs.
Lakeland upset National Collegiate Volleyball Federation No. 8 Indiana University in three sets, 2-1 (25-21, 18-25, 15-13). Redlich again tallied double-digit kills with 14, while adding two aces. Cheever led the team with 11 digs and Erickson totaled 23 assists and eight digs.
Lakeland's run came to an end in the semifinals, as the Muskies lost to UW-Oshkosh for the third time this season, 2-0 (12-25, 21-25). Redlich was the only positive in the match with six kills.
"I am very happy with what the team showed me today," said Lakeland head coach Joe Julkowski. "We brought out a higher level of play today and it made the game fun again. Of course it's always more fun to win, but the guys enjoyed the game because they saw what they can accomplish together. After our match against UW-Oshkosh, we know that there are still areas for improvement, but we have really closed the gap, showing we can compete at the top level."
Lakeland returns to action on Tuesday, March 27, as the Muskies travel to Oshkosh, Wis., to face Wisconsin Volleyball Conference foe UW-Oshkosh.