June 6, 2017
CHICAGO - Loyola University Chicago women's volleyball will play eight matches against six teams that reached the NCAA Tournament a year ago according to the 2017 schedule announced today by seventh-year head coach Chris Muscat. The Ramblers return four starters plus their libero from a 2016 squad that matched a program record with nine Missouri Valley Conference wins and reached the league tournament for the second straight year.
A trip to the west coast starts off the 2017 campaign when the Ramblers compete in the Cal Invitational in Berkeley, California, where they will face Seattle, the host Bears, and UC Irvine, August 25-26 before returning home for the Ramblers Challenge, September 1-3 at Gentile Arena. Loyola will welcome Fairfield, one of the six NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, former conference mate Milwaukee, and Samford to Rogers Park for the three-day event.
The Ramblers will make a short trek up I-94 to Milwaukee to face a pair of 2016 NCAA Tournament teams on September 8 and 9 when they battle Marquette and Kentucky before returning home for a September 12 showdown with crosstown rival DePaul. Loyola closes out non-conference play at the Stacey Clark Classic, September 16-17, in West Lafayette, Indiana, where it will take on Miami Ohio and host Purdue.
"We are very excited about the non-conference schedule we have put together for the 2017 season," Muscat said. "It will test this group that has been putting a lot of work in over the past eight months. We always keep a few things in mind when we put together the schedule. First is to put together a resume that, if executed, puts us in a position to be considered for postseason play. Second, we want to continue to develop and that means playing against teams with contrasting styles that will push us to points of adversity and challenge so that we can develop a toughness that is required once Valley play begins. We feel that our 2017 schedule accomplishes that."
Loyola plays three of its first four Valley games at home, raising the curtain on conference action on September 22 when Drake visits Gentile Arena. It will be a busy opening week of MVC play for the Ramblers, as they will also host Northern Iowa (Sept. 23) before making a trek to Missouri State (Sept. 25) for three matches in four days. Loyola wraps up the opening stretch of league play when it renews its rivalry with former conference mate and newest Valley member, Valparaiso (Oct. 1) to open the month of October.
Following the match against Valpo, a grueling stretch awaits the Ramblers, who will play six of the next eight contests away from home, beginning with road matches at Illinois State (Oct. 6) and Bradley (Oct. 7).
The final month of the regular season features six matches, four of which will be played at Gentile Arena. Loyola opens November with meetings with Bradley (Nov. 6) and Illinois State (Nov. 7) then heads to Indiana State (Nov. 10) and Evansville (Nov. 11) for its final road matches of the regular season. The Ramblers conclude regular season action with weekend tilts versus Southern Illinois (Nov. 17) and Missouri State (Nov.18), with the top six teams qualifying for the MVC Tournament, which will be held November 23-25 in Normal, Illinois.