(CBS) — You may not know it, but Chicago can lay claim to a number-one team in the country.
The Loyola men’s volleyball squad has achieved top-ranked status for the first time in school history. And, they’re not done yet.
CBS 2’s Megan Mawicke has more on the big hitters in Rogers Park.
Volleyball hotbeds? You probably think California schools, not Loyola University. But, the Ramblers are becoming just that and they’re the first Midwest school ranked No. 1 in 15 years.
“We are a fast, physical fast-paced, control team, and you don’t get a lot of that from Midwest or East Coast teams. We’ve got that Southern California-type look to us,” says Loyola Head Coach Shane Davis.
The Ramblers are hungry after losing in the Final Four last season, but that experience has helped on the court this year and made them closer off the court.
“That vulnerability has led our team to come together,” says Joe Smalzer, an All-American senior.
Even though they are number-one in the country, this is a grounded group. The reason they are so centered?
After every practice they mediate and pray.
“It might make us better at volleyball, but it’s probably making us better people off the court, as well,” Davis says.
“Being in college and playing a division-one sport, you don’t have 10 minutes to sit down and think about anything that’s important to you,” says sophomore Thomas Jaeschke.
And, that includes being a big hit in May so they can make the Final Four again, which Loyola just happens to be hosting this year.