The defending NCAA champions will open the season as the overwhelming favorites to capture its third consecutive MIVA title during the upcoming season.
Loyola was a unanimous pick to win the 2015 MIVA championship in the conference’s preseason coaches poll that was released Monday.
The Ramblers return all but two starters from last year’s team that won their first national championship in program history. In addition, Loyola became the first MIVA team in more than 30 years to go undefeated in a conference season comprised of at least 10 matches.
Loyola also had a conference-best four players make the Preseason All-MIVA Team. Among the Ramblers to earn the preseason honors included outside attacker Thomas Jaeschke, the 2014 MIVA Player of the Year who earned the 2015 Preseason MIVA Player of the Year.
Loyola in the preseason poll finished nine points ahead second-place Lewis, which received every second-place vote. The Flyers last season lost to their in-state rivals in the conference championship match for the second consecutive year, but earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
IPFW beat-out Ohio State by one point for the No. 3 spot in the conference poll, while Ball State rounded-out the top five.
The MIVA season begins in January and concludes with the eight-team conference tournament in April.
2015 MIVA PRESEASON POLL
1. Loyola — 81 (9) points
2. Lewis — 72 points
3. IPFW — 57 points
4. Ohio State — 56 points
5. Ball State — 41 points
6. Grand Canyon — 36 points
7. Lindenwood — 33 points
8. Quincy — 19 points
9. McKendree — 10 points
2015 MIVA PRESEASON INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
MIVA Preseason Player of the Year: Thomas Jaeschke, Loyola
MIVA Preseason Libero of the Year: Lucas Yanez, Lewis
2015 PRESEASON ALL-MIVA TEAM
Setter: Omar Riveria, IPFW
Opposite: Colin Hackworth, Lindenwood
Opposite: Andy Sellan, IPFW
Outside attacker: Cody Caldwell, Loyola
Outside attacker: Thomas Jaeschke, Loyola
Outside attacker: Greg Petty, Lewis
Outside attacker: Geoff Powell, Lewis
Middle attacker: Driss Guessous, Ohio State
Middle attacker: Nick Olson, Loyola
Libero: Lucas Yanez, Lewis