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updated: 1/27/2014 6:29 PM

Loyola earns No. 1 volleyball ranking

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By Daily Herald News Services

After two impressive road wins over the weekend, Loyola's men's volleyball program earned its first No. 1 ranking in program history.

The Ramblers, who were ranked No. 2 last week, defeated Sacred Heart on Friday and No. 13 Harvard on Saturday as No. 1 ranked Pepperdine lost Friday to No. 5 Long Beach State.

The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll lifted Loyola and UCLA to the No. 1 ranking, each with 254 points overall. Pepperdine (4-1) fell to No. 3. Lewis University in Romeoville, which also defeated Sacred Heart and Harvard over the weekend, is ranked No. 10 in the AVCA poll.

"We are excited about the wins that we've earned on the road, but we're not satisfied," said Loyola head coach Shane Davis. "Our goal is to win a national championship, and there's still a lot of season left to play as we continue to work toward that goal."

Loyola (6-1) earned its first road win on Friday with a four set win (23-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-18) over Sacred Heart, behind a match-high 17 kills from Thomas Jaeschke, a 6-foot-6 sophomore from Wheaton Warrenville High School. Joseph Smalzer contributed 13 kills and seven aces for the Ramblers. The Ramblers continued their two-game road swing with a sweep of No. 13 Harvard (25-19, 25-14, 25-14) on Saturday.

Loyola opened this season with wins over top-ranked UC Irvine and No. 3 BYU, the first time the program knocked off two top-five teams in a season since 2002, when they beat Hawaii and Penn State.

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