An extended break comes at a good time for Loyola.
After beating Resurrection 19-4 on Friday for their sixth win in a row, the Ramblers (9-5, 2-2 MCAC) are off until April 6 when they play at Fenwick’s tournament. Defending state champion Stevenson, runner-up Naperville Central, third-place finisher Fenwick and fourth-place finisher Mother McAuley all are in the field.
“We are playing well and have some momentum, but it will be nice to stop, catch our breath and regroup,” Loyola head coach Kim Przekota said. “We haven’t had a lot of practice time. It will be good to address some of the soft spots in our game.”
Loyola is led by senior captains Nicole Kielba, Sarah Pinkerton and Lauren Voss. Pinkerton and Voss both are drivers, and Kielba is a two-way, 2-meter player.
“They are the heart and soul of our team,” Przekota said. “They rarely come out of the water and all three contribute on both offense and defense.”
Other players to watch include juniors Aidan Koconis-O’Malley and Mary Kate Lopez.
In her second season playing water polo, Koconis-O’Malley, who appeared in only two varsity games last year, is one of the team’s top scorers. A utility player, she scored a game-best five goals in the win over Resurrection.
Although volleyball is her primary sport, the 6-foot-3 Lopez is a standout as a goalie for the Ramblers, according to Przekota. She played water polo as a freshman and skipped her sophomore season. Lopez has committed to play volleyball at Oregon State.
“She has a great sports IQ,” Przekota said. “She has good hands, a good arm and good legs despite not being in the water much. She was a huge pickup for us this year.”
Highlights of the season so far include a 5-4 win over New Trier on March 16 and a tournament title at Jones College Prep’s invitational March 17.
“Every game we get a little bit better,” Przekota said. “We hope to be playing our best water polo by the end of the season.”