BOYS GOLF: Loyola senior Peter Radler said he appreciates the significance of a tournament like Saturday’s at Twin Orchard Country Club as a means to prepare the Ramblers for the postseason, which starts next month.
Although Class 3A defending state champion Hinsdale Central won’t be there, the field includes five teams that placed in the top 6 at the Class 3A state tournament last season. Runner-up Lake Forest, Stevenson, Highland Park and New Trier all will tee it up in Long Grove. The Ramblers finished fifth at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington a year ago.
“It’s important to measure yourself against the best,” Radler said.
Radler used his summer as an example. Among the tournaments on his schedule were the Western Junior and Illinois State Amateur, where he made the cut. The Western Junior, which was played at Evanston Golf Club in Skokie, is one of the most prestigious junior events in the world.
“The Western Junior was by far the biggest tournament I’ve ever played in,” he said. “It was overwhelming, and I didn’t think I could hang. But I learned I am a pretty good player. You have to play in big tournaments to get experience and gain confidence.”
In the team’s fourth week of the season, the lineup is rounding into shape, according to Loyola head coach Tim Kane. Seniors Jack Crawshaw, Christopher Lee, Ryan Savarie and Radler as well as sophomore Patrick Adler have been mainstays. Kane said the No. 6 spot remains open to competition.
“We’ve been up and down, but we seemed to have righted the ship recently,” Kane said. “The season goes by quickly, and we need the players to have that in mind.”
The Catholic League tournament is Sept. 26 at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club.
“We are starting to realize we can be pretty good,” Radler said.
GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Four days after losing to New Trier in three sets in the title match at New Trier’s tournament, the Ramblers routed the Trevians 25-11, 25-15 on Wednesday at home.
What changed? According to Loyola head coach Mallory Thelander, three things: cleaner play, better blocking and a full lineup.
“One, we had a lot of unforced errors the first time,” Loyola head coach Mallory Thelander said. “We didn’t make them earn their points. The second thing was our blocking was much better. We shut down their hitters, and they had to work much harder.”
Finally, senior outside hitter Julia Martinez was on the court. A returning starter, she missed Saturday’s match while taking an official visit to St. Louis University, where she is verbally committed to play basketball.
Thelander said the blocking of seniors Elizabeth Ford and Mary Kate Lopez and junior Jackie Yau was instrumental. The three combined for 10 blocks.
“Volleyball is such a momentum game, and a huge block can swing it,” Thelander said. “It played a huge role in our success.”
Lopez finished with eight kills, four blocks and eight assists. Ford had six kills and three blocks, while Martinez totaled seven kills and two kills. Senior Anne Martinson had 16 assists, and junior Grace Anello finished with 11 digs.
Senior Lizzie Walker’s serving, especially in the first set, also contributed to the win.
“We wanted to keep the ball away from their best passer, and she did a good job of that,” Thelander said. “She’s accurate and consistent. She’s someone we know we can rely on.”
Added Walker: “I’m not someone who you go to for an ace or a hard serve, but I get the ball in play. My team did a great job of earning points, and that helped me get into a rhythm. All I had to do was put it in play.”
Loyola (8-2) opens the GCAC Red schedule Tuesday at St. Ignatius.
BOYS SOCCER: The Ramblers had their best offensive output Tuesday in a 7-0 win over De La Salle at home in the Catholic League opener. Senior Collin Leider finished with two goals, while five others had at least one. On Thursday, Loyola beat Montini on the road 4-0.
So far, the Ramblers (4-1-3, 2-0) have shown balance on offense. Six players have two or more goals, and four have at least four. Leider leads the team with five goals, while senior David Gripman, junior Austin Agyemang and sophomore Tommy Zippirich all have four goals apiece.
Junior Andrew Hoepfner and sophomore Jack Latterman lead Loyola with three assists, while sophomore Michael Sullivan, sophomore Tommy Zippirich and Leider all have two.
Defensively, Loyola has five shutouts and surrendered five goals in eight games.