A year after graduating one of its top setters in program history, Loyola will start a former high school All-American at setter for the upcoming season.
Loyola coach Shane Davis said Wednesday that junior Matt Mirick will be the Ramblers’ starting setter when the team opens its season in January.
“I think the biggest thing with him is that he brings leadership. He does a great job on the court directing the team and keeping that team together,” Davis said. “He’s focused and is good at getting the guys focused and brings that to the court. He has a good feel for the play that is going on and plays within the moment.”
Mirick in his first two seasons with Loyola primarily came off the bench as a serving specialist. The junior last season also had 44 assists, including a career-high 24 assists in a four-game victory against NJIT.
As a starting setter in high school, Mirick was named a First-Team All-American after leading his team to the California state championship in 2009.
Mirick will replace Mike Hutz as the Ramblers’ starting setter. Hutz ended his college career last season as a four-year starter and a two-time All-MIVA selection.
Hutz is the only Loyola starter not returning from last season. Loyola ended the 2011 season losing to Ohio State in the MIVA championship game for the second consecutive season.
Along with Mirick, Davis said another addition to court this year will be freshman outside attacker Cody Caldwell.
Davis said Caldwell is among several players competing for playing time at outside attacker. The coach also said he expects Caldwell to get playing time throughout the season.
Caldwell was the 2011 Volleyball Magazine High School Player of the Year and led the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team in kills at the Youth World Championship in August.
Loyola will open its season at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational on Jan. 6.