BOYS SOCCER: Loyola entered its biggest week of the season with one of its best players on the bench.

Loyola head coach Baer Fisher said junior midfielder David Gripman sat out Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Marmion in Aurora and plans to miss Thursday’s home game against St. Laurence to rest his knee, which has bothered him all season. Both games are in the Catholic League.

Fisher said he expects Gripman to play Saturday at home against New Trier.

“He’s such an important part of our team that we can’t afford for this to linger all season,” Fisher said. “We need him healthy.”

Gripman, a three-year varsity starter, scored the game-winning goal in Thursday’s 2-1 win over St. Francis in Wheaton.

“He’s one of our most talented players and a great attacking midfielder,” Fisher said. “We want to make sure he gets rest when he can.”

Fisher said Thursday’s game against St. Laurence is an important one as the Vikings are one of the favorites to win the Catholic League. The Ramblers (7-1, 3-0) beat them 3-2 in Burbank last season.

“They are a senior-heavy team that is very good,” Fisher said. “We know they are going to be ready to go after we beat them last year. It will be a tough game.”

Senior Nick Lew and junior Christian Jimenez scored goals against Marmion.

GIRLS TENNIS: Loyola gave first-year head coach Tom Gordon his biggest victory to date with its 4-3 win Tuesday over St. Ignatius in Chicago.

With the outcome on the line, the No. 1 doubles team of senior Maggie Hines and junior Lizzie Witkowski earned a 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 (tiebreaker) win to beat the Wolfpack to improve to 3-0 in the GCAC Red. Hines and Witkowski never trailed in the final set.

“It was awesome,” Gordon said. “They were the last match left. I didn’t tell them where it stood, but I think they knew. Everybody there was watching, and it was super intense. They played out of their minds in the tiebreaker set.”

At No. 2 doubles, juniors Catherine Power and Maeve Silk won the final five games of the second set to complete a 6-4, 6-4 victory. The No. 3 doubles team of juniors Alex Ethridge and Caroline Paden won 6-4, 6-1.

“Huge win,” Gordon said. “St. Ignatius is probably our toughest test in the conference. We have a young team, and this win is such a huge step for these girls. It was awesome.”

Loyola hosts its own invitational Saturday.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: On Tuesday, the Ramblers lost their opener in the GCAC Red, falling to Montini 18-25, 25-23, 25-17 at home. On Wednesday, the varsity team will participate in a program-wide service project.

“You always want to win, but the mission of our school is helping others,” Loyola head coach Mark Chang said. “It’s something we try to do every year.”

The Ramblers will visit Horsefeathers, a Lake Forest-based organization that uses horses as a means of therapeutic treatment. Chang said the school’s Campus Ministry Department arranged the outing.

In the loss to the Broncos, junior right-side hitter/setter Mary Kate Lopez led Loyola (8-3, 0-1) with four kills and three blocks. Senior libero Angela Pieroni contributed 20 digs and one ace, while senior setter Mary Leinenweber had 13 assists. Junior setter Anne Martinson (pictured above) finished with four aces.

“There wasn’t one glaring issue,” Chang said about the defeat. “It was a whole mix of things. After the first set, we couldn’t get our momentum or mojo going.”

The Ramblers are off until they host Glenbrook South on Monday.

Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola