Senior captains Charlie Freedman, John Merucci (pictured above) and Tony Spallone entered this season having never beaten Fenwick.
The streak continued with a 13-11 loss in the opener March 5 at home.
In possibly their last game against the Friars, the threesome led Loyola to an 11-8 win over Fenwick on Saturday in Oak Park to capture the MCAC championship. It was the Ramblers’ first league title since 2014. They went on to win the program’s only state championship that year.
“We had our heart set on eventually beating them,” Spallone said. “It’s something we had been working toward, and something we are really proud of doing.”
Loyola fell behind 2-0 in the first quarter before rallying to take a 6-4 lead into the half. The Ramblers never trailed in the final two quarters.
Merucci scored a team-best four goals, and Spallone had three goals.
“We made a few mistakes early, but we knew we were the better team,” Merucci said.
The Ramblers opened the conference tournament Thursday with a 17-6 win over St. Viator. They beat St. Patrick 10-5 in the semifinals Saturday. Merucci and Spallone both scored two goals against the Shamrocks.
Spallone was selected as the MCAC’s Lawless Award winner. He’s the first Loyola player to earn the honor since Cameron Shewchuck in 2014.
“I was a little surprised,” Spallone said. “I have so many great teammates that also are deserving of it.”
Spallone and Merucci both were named to the all-conference first team. Merucci was selected to the league’s first team as a junior.
Loyola (24-6) starts the postseason Wednesday at the Glenbrook South Sectional. The Ramblers are the No. 1 seed.
“These seniors are super motivated, hungry and confident,” Loyola head coach Dan Hengelmann said.
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola