The Ramblers head into next week’s state tournament playing their best of the season, according to Loyola head coach Annie Nimz.

Nimz said that Thursday after the Ramblers (9-6) closed out the regular season with a 2-1 win over Oak Park-River Forest in Glenview. It was their fourth win in five games and against a team that earned a higher seed at the state tournament.

“This is what we needed to launch us into the playoffs,” she said.

After a scoreless first half, junior Caroline Foley gave Loyola a 1-0 lead. Even though the Huskies answered almost immediately to the game at 1-all, the Ramblers re-took the lead for good minutes later on a goal from junior Anya Kavanagh.

“When someone scores us, it really fires us up,” senior Grace Balestrery said.

Balestrery helped protect the lead with her defense, clearing two balls deep in Loyola territory.

“You could tell she was playing with a lot of adrenaline,” Nimz said. “She’s a senior, and this was her last game on her home turf. She’s a difference-maker for us.”

Seventh-seeded Loyola opens the state tournament Wednesday against No. 10 Lakes at New Trier’s Northfield campus. Oak Park-River Forest is the No. 6 seed. Defending state champion Lake Forest is the top seed.

“We are playing well right now,” Nimz said. “Oak Park is a hard, strong team. That was a good win. I’m excited to take this team into the playoffs.”

Pictured above: Anna Gordon

Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola