BOYS SOCCER: At a minimum, Loyola head coach Baer Fisher said the Ramblers had as many scoring opportunities Saturday as Evanston.
The difference was the 11th-seeded Ramblers couldn’t capitalize, and it contributed to a 2-0 loss to the third-seeded Wildkits at the Class 3A regional final at Evanston. It was the third season in a row Loyola lost to Evanston at the state tournament.
“It was a great game, and we played really well,” Fisher said. “The game boils down to which team can put the ball away, and we didn’t do that.”
Evanston scored late in the first half and then again in the final few minutes of regulation.
“The first one was because of a miscommunication, and the last came when we were pushing a lot of guys forward,” Fisher said.
Loyola (14-6) still is looking for its first regional title since 2008, but Fisher said the program is heading in the right direction. The Ramblers are 41-19-3 in his three seasons and have won 30 games over the last two years.
Loyola loses six seniors, including captains Jonas Madison and Luke Phillips (pictured above). Roger Akela, David Moreno-Hirsch, Nick Lew and Ford Peterson also played their final games for the Ramblers.
“All of the seniors have been awesome,” Fisher said. “We will miss their leadership. Take a guy like David. He was a three-year backup goalie, but he was an incredible program player who always put the team first. He made everyone better.”
A lot of talent should be back, and Fisher said he hopes the players are motivated in the offseason to improve.
“The ability is there,” he said. “If they stay hungry, we should be really strong again.”
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY: Seniors Lainey McKinley and Emily Plodzeen paced the Ramblers to third place Saturday at the Class 3A regional meet at Niles West to extend their season another week.
New Trier won the meet with 36 points. Maine South (59), Loyola (75), Evanston (75) and Lake Park (135) all advanced to Saturday’s sectional meet at Lake Park.
Fresh off a GCAC championship, McKinley finished fourth in 18 minutes, 29 seconds. Plodzeen came in 12th (19:10). Loyola’s other scorers were junior Hannah Kelly (17th, 19:30), senior Payton Hoag (19th, 19:35) and senior Annie Foley (23rd, 19:47).
Senior Louisa Edwards (24th, 19:49) and sophomore Alex Guzzardo (28th, 20:08) also were in the lineup.
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY: Senior Connor Hoag finished 11th in 15:58 at Niles West to lead Loyola to fourth place and a spot at Saturday’s Class 3A sectional meet at Lake Park.
Maine South had the winner and runner-up on its way to the team title with 47 points. New Trier (50), Evanston (61), Loyola (98) and Lake Park (124) rounded out the qualifying teams.
Junior Jack Lynch followed Hoag in 15th (16:03). Freshman Spencer Dzyacky placed 22nd (16:21), junior Eli Miller was 23rd (16:22) and sophomore Alex Owens finished 27th (16:33) to factor into the team’s scoring.
Sophomore Bill Delaney (29th, 16:35) and senior Marc Daly (52nd, 17:40) also ran at Niles West.
GIRLS TENNIS: The doubles team of senior Maggie Hines and junior Lizzie Witkowski ended their three-day run at the Class AA state tournament Saturday with a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Highland Park’s Monique Brual and Samara Michael in the quarterfinals of the consolation bracket. Hines/Witkowski went 4-2 at the tournament.
For Hines, it concluded a successful prep career, highlighted by three appearances and 14 wins at the state tournament.
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola