Ramblers Look To Hit California Gold
Jan. 3, 2013
CHICAGO – The Ramblers open the 2013 campaign this weekend, traveling to Santa Barbara, Calif. where they will play in the ASICS Invitational on Jan. 4-5. Ranked tenth in the AVCA Division I-II Men's Coaches Preseason Poll, Loyola is set to play against some tough competition as it takes on No. 7 Long Beach State on Friday at 12 p.m. CST. The second match will begin at 9:30 p.m. with the Ramblers playing either No. 15 Cal Baptist or No. 1 UC Irvine. A third match will be held on Saturday, Jan. 5. The opponent and playing time will be determined based on Friday’s results.
SCOUTING THE 49ERS
- After finishing 15-15 overall last season, Long Beach State returns three starters including Second-Team All-MPSF honoree Taylor Crabb. Crabb, who leads the team with 2.75 kills and 1.91 digs per set, is joined by middle blocker Jeff Ornee (1.04 blocks/set) and setter Connor Olbright (10.40 assists/set) as the team also welcomes seven newcomers. Long Beach State is ranked seventh in the AVCA Division I-II Preseason Coaches Poll.
- Loyola and Long Beach State have played twice in program history, with the Ramblers trailing the series, 0-2. The two teams met in the season-opener last year, when Loyola fell to the 49ers, 3-0.
SCOUTING THE LANCERS
- Cal Baptist enters its first year in the MPSF led by first-year head coach Wes Schneider. The team returns four starters including outside hitter Aaron McCalmont (3.26 kills/set), middle blocker Kristopher Johnson (0.91 blocks/set) and setter Connor Metcalfe (9.95 assists/set). In their first year eligible for the AVCA Division I-II rankings, the Lancers round out the AVCA preseason poll in 15th as they are tabbed to finish 10th in the MPSF.
- Cal Baptist is no stranger to Loyola as the teams have met eight times with the Ramblers leading the series, 5-3. The teams met during the 2012 campaign, playing a hard-fought match with the Lancers edging Loyola, 3-2.
SCOUTING THE ANTEATERS
- The defending national champion, UC Irvine, finds itself at the top of the AVCA preseason poll, opening the 2013 season ranked first in the nation. Led by first-year head coach David Kniffin, the Anteaters return five starters including First Team All-American Kevin Tillie (3.80 kills/set). Also returning is outside hitter Jeremy Dejno who was ranked sixth in the nation in hitting percentage (.347) and setter Chris Austin (10.48 assists/set).
- The Ramblers are 3-2 in their series against UC Irvine with the last meeting in 2009 when Loyola fell to the Anteaters, 3-0. The Ramblers last win came in 2005 (3-1).
TALK OF THE NATION
- For a second consecutive season, Loyola was ranked No. 10 in the AVCA Division I-II Preseason Coaches Poll. The Ramblers are one of three MIVA teams to debut in the preseason rankings, as Lewis was tabbed No. 5 and Ohio State No. 11.
- Juniors Dainis Berzins, Joseph Smalzer and Peter Jasaitis were named to the MIVA Preseason All-Conference Team with Jasaitis being named the Libero of the Year. It is the second time Smalzer has been recognized with MIVA Preseason honors and a first for Berzins and Jasaitis. Loyola and Lewis led the MIVA with three players named Preseason All-Conference.
- League coaches voted Loyola second in the MIVA Preseason Rankings as the Ramblers received 54 points and one first place vote for the 2013 season. Lewis was voted to finish first while Ohio State was third.
LET’S START THE NEW YEAR RIGHT
- Loyola is 15-2 in season openers, never playing five sets in the first match of the season. The only two losses came to ranked teams with the Ramblers falling to No. 4 BYU in 2000, 3-1, and to No. 6 Long Beach State in 2012, 3-0.
- The Ramblers have been traveling to California since the program began in 1996. Loyola is 13-21 overall when playing in California, collecting a 2-4 record during a weeklong trip to the Golden State in 2012.
- Shane Davis carries a 186-75 overall record heading into his tenth season as head coach of Loyola, making him the winningest coach in program history. With three MIVA Coach of the Year awards (2005, 2006, 2010), two regular-season championships (2005, 2006) and six 20-win seasons, Davis looks for his 200th win during the 2013 campaign.
FORESEEN AND FORETOLD
- Two Loyola University Chicago men’s volleyball players earned preseason recognition as Joseph Smalzer and Peter Jasaitis were named 2013 Off the Block Preseason All-Americans. Loyola was one of six schools to earn two selections while USC led with three players named to the list. Smalzer was selected a Preseason First-Team All-American after leading the MIVA and ranking sixth in the nation with a 0.49 aces per game average last season. Jasaitis earned second-team honors, after leading the MIVA and ranking second in the nation last season with a 2.73 digs per game average.
RAISING THE BAR
- The Ramblers had five newcomers recognized to Volleyball Magazine’s 2012 Fab 50 Recruits. Freshmen Trevor Novotny, Nicholas Olson, Peter Hutz, Owen McAndrews and Thomas Jaeschke were all tabbed as top incoming collegiate players with USC and UCLA the only schools having more than five selections.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
- The Ramblers welcome six newcomers to the 2013 squad. Freshmen Nicholas Olson, Peter Hutz and Trevor Novotny hail from Wisconsin, playing together on the West Allis Lightning club team and winning the 2010 and 2012 USAV Junior National Championships. Also joining the team is the 2012 Ohio Volleyball Player of the Year, Owen McAndrews, 2012 Chicago Player of the Year, Thomas Jaeschke, and a member of the 2008-10 Puerto Rico National Team, Diego Rodriguez.
NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOE
- Joseph Smalzer was named a 2012 Second-Team All-American becoming the 11th player in Loyola history to earn All-American honors. Smalzer led the Ramblers with 337 total kills and 48 service aces, ranking second in program history with 95 career service aces. The junior was also named a 2012 First-Team All-MIVA selection for a second-consecutive season.
THE NEW BERLIN WALL
- New Berlin, Wis. native Nicholas Olson joins the Ramblers after playing with the U.S. Junior National Team in August, when he helped the United States to first place in the North, Central American and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) Men’s Junior Continental Championship. Olson ranked among the top 20 best scorers in the tournament, taking fifth in the Best Blockers category.
- Loyola took its talents off the court, raising money for “Movember,” a month-long event that raises awareness for men’s health. By sporting moustaches throughout November, the Ramblers were able to draw attention to men’s health as they raised $8,843, ranking in the top 250 teams nationwide.