PROVO, Utah – No. 1 BYU men’s volleyball opens the 2016 season hosting the annual AVCA Showcase.
The Cougars will first face off against the defending back-to-back national champions No. 3 Loyola-Chicago Friday at 7 p.m. MST, followed by No. 14 George Mason on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Additionally, No. 2 UC Irvine will travel to the Smith Fieldhouse – first competing against George Mason Friday at 4:30 p.m., followed by Loyola-Chicago Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
- The Ramblers played over the weekend, falling in four sets at home to No. 9 UC Santa Barbara.
- Loyola-Chicago ended the 2015 season with a 28-2, 14-2 MIVA record. The Ramblers fell to Lewis both times in conference play but avenged those loses in the national championship match to win back-to-back titles.
- Long-time assistant coach Mark Hulse takes over as head coach this year with last week’s departure of Shane Davis.
- BYU leads the overall series 4-3, but fell in the season opener against Loyola-Chicago last year in four sets.
- The Ramblers were picked to finish first (five first-place votes) in their conference, ahead of Ohio State and Lewis.
- The Patriots will face off against No. 5 UCLA on Tuesday before heading to Provo.
- George Mason finished the 2015 season with a 15-13, 7-5 EIVA record – collecting the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament – falling to winner and NCAA tournament participant Penn State.
- The Patriots are led by first-year head coach Jay Hosack, who spent the past six seasons as an assistant coach with the Nittany Lions.
- BYU has split the overall series with George Mason 2-2, with the Cougars collected a sweep in the last matchup in 2004.
- The Patriots were picked to finish second (two first-place votes) in their conference, just four votes shy of the top spot. Penn State in the 17-time defending conference champion and was picked to finish first.
- UC Irvine ended the 2015 season in the NCAA tournament semifinals – falling to Loyola-Chicago in three sets.
- The Anteaters won the MPSF regular season and tournament titles last year, finishing with a 28-5, 19-3 MPSF record.
- UC Irvine was picked to finish second in both the AVCA and MPSF (two first-place votes) preseason polls.
- BYU will travel to face the Anteaters on their home court later in the season for conference matches on Jan. 29-30.
Friday’s match between BYU and Loyola-Chicago will be broadcast live on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143. Saturday's match between BYU and George Mason will be streamed live on TheW.tv. Links to live stats for all four matches can be found on the BYU men’s volleyball schedule page.