Through three games, Loyola has as many losses as it did all of last season.
But results aren’t that important right now, according to head coach Shannon Hartinger. In her first season, she’s more concerned with creating the right culture.
“First and foremost, it’s about having a positive experience as a student-athlete,” said Hartinger, who played college soccer at North Carolina State. “From the first day, the attitude and energy have been great. When you have that, it’s going to be fun for everybody. Of course, we want to be successful, but that will come.”
Senior forward Maggie Brett is one of several players who returned from last season’s team that finished 19-2-4 and won a Class 3A regional title and GCAC Red championship. As a junior, she earned all-state honors from the Illinois High School Girls Soccer Coaches Association after totaling 19 goals and 12 assists.
One of eight seniors and a captain, the Washington University-bound Brett was the first player Hartinger reached out to after getting the job.
“She was instrumental in my transition,” Hartinger said. “We had a lot of conversations, and she acted as a liaison between me and the team.”
Senior midfielder Kate Murtagh and junior midfielder Meredith Phillips — both varsity veterans — join Brett as captains.
Other players back with experience are senior defender Lauren Daffada, senior keeper Katherine Jaros, senior midfielder Claire Kelly, senior forward Megan Kurtz, senior defender Madeline Prassas, senior midfielder Madeline Phillips and sophomore keeper Maddie Kenny.
Five freshmen started in Loyola’s 2-1 loss to Evanston on the road Friday. Forward Molly Sipe scored the team’s lone goal. She also was credited with the goal in the Ramblers’ 1-all tie with St. Ignatius on March 19.
“Beyond the captains, I give full credit to the seniors with stepping up as leaders,” Hartinger said. “The feedback I’ve received from the new girls is that they all felt welcome and part of the team right away.”