T&T’s Daynte Stewart and the 11th -ranked Indiana Tech men’s volleyball team fell to ninth-ranked Lourdes University 25-19, 22-25, 29-31,16-25 in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) Tournament Championship final at the Russell J. Ebeid Recreation Center, Sylvania Ohio on Saturday.
Led by Stewart and Mason Milan in attack, Indiana Tech battled back from a 7-4 deficit with a 7-1 run that put them up 15-11 in the first set.
The Warriors led for the rest of the set, holding as much as a seven-point lead before going up 1-0 with the 25-19 win.
The Warriors held a 10-6 lead in the second, but Lourdes battled back to take a 15-14 lead.
Four of the sets 11 ties came over the next eight serves, but the Gray Wolves used a 5-1 run to go up 22-19 and even up the set at 1-1.
The third set was a thriller with 11 ties and four lead changes.
With the score knotted up at 15-15, Tech went on a 5-0 spurt to take a 20-15 lead, but the hosts battled back and fought off two set points to tie it up at 24-all. Lourdes eventually came out on top with the 31-29 win to go up 2-1.
The fourth set was a tight contest early, but Lourdes grabbed the momentum with a 4-0 run to go up 16-11 and never let the Warriors get within three points the rest of the way as they wrapped up the championship with a 5-0 run to complete the comeback.
Stewart, who was named to the First Team All-Conference on Friday led Indiana Tech with 13 kills and 14 digs while Milan tallied 12 kills and four blocks, and Joey Hermes, 14 digs.
Lourdes was led by Jeff Lam’s 19 kills and 14 digs. Ricardo Gehrike added 15 kills and Henrique Gehrike handed out 30 assists.
Also, several Gray Wolves had multiple blocks as the team set a school record with 19 on the day.
With the title win, Lourdes earned the WHAC’s automatic bid to the National Association of Inter-Collegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Championship.
On the other hand, Indiana Tech (16-5), who shared the WHAC regular-season title with Lourdes after both teams ended (10-2) will now await to see if they will get an at-large bid to the tournament which takes place April 20-24 in Des Moines, Iowa.
The NAIA Selection Show is slated for Monday, April 12, at 4 p.m.
In the semifinals on Friday, Stewart had a team-high 20 points as Indiana Tech defeated 4th-ranked Siena Heights University 15-25, 31-29, 25-20, 25-19 to set up a finals’ showdown with regular-season joint WHAC winners, Lourdes University.