Jaren Wilkey/BYU
BYU takes on UC Irvine in the NCAA Championship match. BYU lost to UC Irvine 3-0. NCAA Men's Volleyball Championships hosted by UCLA at Pauley Pavillion in Westwood, CA.

No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball launches its season on the road against No. 7 Loyola in Chicago on Friday at 7 p.m. CST. The team follows up with a match against No. 10 Lewis on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Romeoville, Ill.

The Cougars last met Loyola in January 2012, when BYU won in five sets in the E-Bar Tournament at UC Santa Barbara. The Cougars are 4-1 vs. the Ramblers, with two of those wins coming in Chicago, one in Provo and one at a neutral site. Loyola finished No. 9 in the AVCA poll last season after ending its 2013 run in the NCAA tournament semifinals against eventual champion UC Irvine.

BYU is 11-2 against Lewis after splitting the 2013 series in Provo. The Cougars are 8-1 at home and 4-1 on the road against the Flyers. Lewis finished No. 10 in the AVCA poll last season.

Loyola returns six seniors for 2014, while welcoming three freshmen. Among the returners is first-team All-American opposite hitter Joseph Smalzer, who led the nation in service aces last season.

Loyola will host the 2014 NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championships in May.

Back for Lewis are All-Americans junior outside hitter Geoff Powell and senior setter BJ Boldog. The Flyers only return three seniors for 2014 and welcome eight freshmen. Lewis ended the 2013 season with a loss to Loyola in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association championship match.

Loyola and Lewis will face UC Irvine at home before hosting BYU, with Lewis facing the Anteaters on Wednesday and Loyola facing them Thursday.

Live stats for the Loyola match can be found on the Ramblers’ schedule page.

Live stats and free live video for the Lewis match can be found on the Flyer All Access page.

Rachel Hawks is the men's volleyball sports information director for BYU Athletic Communications.