The college men’s volleyball season will open with a non-conference match between the program that has won the most NCAA championships and a program that has won two of the last three national titles.
Loyola as part of recently unveiling its 2017 schedule announced it will play host to UCLA in its season opener on Jan. 3.
This will be the first time since 2011 that the Bruins and Ramblers have played each other. UCLA is undefeated in the six previous meetings versus Loyola, including a five-game road victory in 2009 that was the only other time it traveled to Loyola.
UCLA last season was one of the first teams in recent college men’s volleyball history to a 6-2 offense and reached the NCAA Tournament for the program’s first time in almost a decade. In addition, All-American setter Micah Ma’a and All-American outside attacker Jake Arnitz and All-American middle attacker Mitch Stahl highlight the starters returning for the Bruins.
The Ramblers as the two-time defending NCAA champions ended last season in second place in the MIVA and lost in the conference tournament semifinals. Loyola also returns a majority of staters for the upcoming season, including All-American middle attacker Jeff Jendryk.
The UCLA match will be the first of three non-conference home matches in a 10-day stretch for Loyola against teams that ended last season in the top 10 of both the national coaches poll and national media poll.
Loyola will also play host to the defending MPSF champions BYU on Jan. 7 and Pepperdine on Jan. 13.
This is the second consecutive year that UCLA will travel across the country to open its season.
UCLA last season went 3-0 on a season-opening East Coast road trip with victories against George Mason, Penn State and Ohio State. In addition, UCLA following the season-opening match versus Loyola will play Penn State and Ohio State to conclude the Midwest road trip.