GIRLS SWIMMING: Loyola head coach Mike Hengelmann said he talked to senior Margaret Guanci about which events she should swim this season.

After competing on three relays at the state series last year, the plan is for Guanci to to swim two individual events and two relays this season.

Saturday confirmed that was the correct call.

A Wisconsin commit and two-time state qualifier, Guanci swam best in-season times for her varsity career in both the 100-yard butterfly (58.82 seconds) and 100 backstroke (58.62) at Evanston’s invitational. She placed second in both events to lead Loyola to third place in the eight-team field.

“She looked really good and strong,” Hengelmann said. “We are really focusing on her primary events this year. We are happy with where she is right now.”

Hengelmann said Guanci’s goal is to swim under the state-qualifying times in both events before the state series. The cutoff for butterfly is 58.18 and 58.69 for backstroke.

Junior Catherine Holecek was another swimmer who stood out Saturday, according to Hengelmann. She finished fifth in the 100 butterfly (1:01.81) and sixth in the 500 freestyle (5:31.10). It’s not a common pairing, considering the 100 butterfly is No. 5 event and the 500 freestyle is No. 7 at the 11-race meet.

“It’s a grind, but she’s worked hard and has good endurance,” Hengelmann said. “She can manage it.”

The Ramblers travel to Oak Park on Friday to swim against Fenwick before competing at Barrington’s invitational Saturday.

BOYS SOCCER: The Ramblers learned last week they received the No. 11 seed at the Class 3A New Trier Sectional. They open the playoffs Oct. 18 against No. 7-seeded Niles West at Evanston.

According to head coach Baer Fisher, his team deserved to be ranked higher.

“We are disappointed, but that’s the challenge of our schedule,” he said. “We are at a disadvantage because we are not able to play a lot of teams in our sectional during the regular season. But we will use this as motivation, to prove a point.”

Loyola closed last week with a 5-0 win over Lincoln Park at home to avoid its first three-game losing streak of the season. On Thursday, the Ramblers (10-5) lost to St. Ignatius 2-0 in Chicago to even their record in the Catholic Blue to 3-3.

“We actually are playing pretty well,” Fisher said. “We made two mistakes against St. Ignatius, and they made us pay. Other than, it was a good game.”

Fisher said David Gripman should be available to play this week for the first time since Sept. 7. He’s been sidelined with a nagging knee injury. The Ramblers are 4-4 without the junior midfielder and three-year starter.

“I think we are close to hitting our stride at the right time,” Fisher said. “The results have not gone our way, but I am happy with our progress and our enthusiasm to get better.”

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Despite four consecutive defeats, Loyola head coach Mark Chang said no one on the team is pressing the panic button.

The latest loss was a two-set defeat to Whitney Young on Thursday in Wilmette.

“We are in a bit of a slump,” Chang said. “It’s not a single issue. It’s a matter of consistency and putting it all together. There is nothing we can’t do.”

With two GCAC Red games this week, Loyola (12-8, 0-2) has a chance to get back into the conference race. The Ramblers play St. Francis at home Tuesday and on the road Thursday against De La Salle. Each team plays six league games.

Loyola competes at Glenbrook North’s tournament Friday and Saturday.

“There is no doubt in my mind we will bounce back and regain momentum,” Chang said. “There is a lot of volleyball left.”

The IHSA will release the pairings for the Class 4A state tournament Friday. The Ramblers are at New Trier’s sectional.

“Our eyes are not on the playoffs right now,” Chang said. “We are paying attention to what is right in front of us.”

Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola