Loyola coach Shane Davis isn’t holding back anything on how good he thinks his team will be this upcoming season — even in prepared statements.
Davis in an athletics department news release Friday to announce Loyola’s 2012 schedule said the Ramblers would be the conference favorites and the team to beat in the MIVA for 2012 season.
“I feel that we are number one in our conference but Lewis and Ohio State will be right there. I feel that we are the team to beat and we’ll focus on ourselves as much as possible to get ready for the competition,” Davis said in the statement.
Davis’ statement comes after Ohio State won the 2011 national championship. The Buckeyes were the first Midwest team to win the title in NCAA men’s volleyball history.
Loyola ended last year ranked No. 12 in the national coaches poll and lost to Ohio State in the MIVA championship match for the second consecutive season.
The Buckeyes, which have three starters returning from that championship team, have won four consecutive MIVA championships. Ohio State last season also became the first MIVA team since the 1960s to win five straight conference regular season titles.
Loyola is on a five-match losing streak against Ohio State and has been eliminated by the Buckeyes in the conference tournament the last four seasons.
The Ramblers have all but one starter returning for the upcoming season, including All-American outside attacker Mike Bunting. In addition, the team adds to its roster freshman outside attacker Cody Caldwell, the 2011 Volleyball Magazine High School Boys’ Player of the Year.
Davis, the winningest coach in program history, has compiled a 167-63 career record during his eight years as the Ramblers’ head coach. The coach also led Loyola to MIVA regular season titles in 2004 and 2006 and earned MIVA Coach of the Year honors both seasons.
Ohio State and Loyola will play each other Feb. 25 in Chicago and March 30 in Columbus, Ohio.