Loyola for the first time in more than 10 years will return to one of the most historic NCAA volleyball non-conference tournaments.
The Volleyball Hall of Fame announced Monday that Loyola along with Juniata, Harvard and the host school Springfield will compete in the four-team 2013 Morgan Classic on Feb. 1-2 in Holyoke, Mass.
This is the first time the Ramblers will participate in the annual Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic since winning the tournament in 2000.
The Ramblers are one of two teams in the 2013 tournament field that ended last season ranked in the national coaches poll. Loyola ended last season No. 12 after reaching the MIVA Tournament semifinals, while Harvard ended at No. 15 — the first time in program history it was nationally ranked.
Harvard and Loyola will compete in the tournament’s first semifinal match on Feb. 1. The winner of that match will advance to the championship match against the winner of the other semifinal match between Juniata and Harvard.
Harvard will make its first appearance in the Morgan Classic in its program history.
Harvard has a majority of its starters returning after advancing to the four-team EIVA Tournament last season. In addition, the Crimson went 8-1 in non-conference play last season — including pulling off one of the upsets of the year with a road victory against Cal State Northridge.
Springfield returns to its home event as the defending tournament champions. The Pride, which won the 2012 NCAA Division III championship, defeated UC Santa Cruz and Lees-McRae last season to capture its first Morgan Classic championship in program history.
Juniata finished the 2012 season No. 5 in the Division III national coaches poll but didn’t qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
Along with the revealing the 2013 field, the Volleyball Hall of Fame announced that all tournament matches will be streamed live online for the second consecutive year.
The Volleyball Hall of Fame as part of this tournament also will have a players and coaches clinic from 9 p.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 2. The players from all four teams in the tournament will participate in this clinic.