The Lady Ramblers soccer team ended their season Friday, Nov. 2 in a close 1-0 loss at Milwaukee in the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament. The teams were tied until double overtime, when Milwaukee University’s junior forward Krissy Dorre scored the lone goal of the game.
The Ramblers ended the season with eight wins, nine losses and three ties. This is an improvement from last season, when the Ramblers won only six, lost 10 and tied three.
Their final loss encapsulates the biggest difficulty the Ramblers faced this season: their inability to finish. Seven of the Rambler’s 20 games went to one or more overtimes. Head Coach Barry Bimbi attributed the problem to maturity in the players.
“Winning games is very, very hard, and that’s something you have to learn,” Bimbi said. “Yes it’s about finishing, but it’s also a maturity thing. We did have some seniors on the field but there were also some freshmen and sophomores contributing.”
The freshmen and sophomores made up the majority of the offense. In fact, the top three scorers on the season were Moriah Schwarz, Tricia Stonebreaker and Brielle Haupt, a sophomore, junior and freshman, respectively.
Offense is something the Ramblers struggled with this season. However, this wasn’t due to a lack of chances.
“We scored the same amount of goals this year [as last year], we created probably 100 more chances,” Bimbi said. “We just need someone to step up and get the final product.”
While the offense suffered, the defense excelled. The back line was comprised of senior defenders Jessie Hubly and Tessa Daniels with sophomore goalkeeper Monica Gonyo. Hubly was recognized for her efforts with Horizon League First-Team Honors.
Gonyo also reached a milestone achievement by tying Loyola’s record for amount of shutouts in a season at eight.
Though the defense excelled in the latter half of the season, they struggled through the first few games, giving up 14 goals in the first five games. However, in the next 15 games, opponents only scored nine.
This turnaround, plus an offensive surge, resulted in six games without a loss, which ties another Loyola record.
The offensive improvement, especially from such young players, is a good sign for the Ramblers in the spring and next year. On the defensive side, however, the team will have to look to new recruits to fill the gaps left by seniors.
“We’ll count on some young players next year, but the players here are going to have to develop and to step in,” Bimbi said. “They’ll get their chances in the spring games.”
Another factor that influenced the Rambler’s season this year was injuries. So many players were injured that the lineup was constantly rearranged.
Players who were strong starters at the beginning of the season, such as junior forward Sammy Gage, were out of commission by the end. Other players, such as senior midfielder Chelsea Stokes, were injured for the beginning of the season, but came back as strong starters later.
Another victim of injury this season was junior forward Elyssa Kulas, who went down with an ACL tear in the first home game against Yale on Sept. 7.
“Sammy Gage should be playing this spring, she was practicing for the last week and a half, and Kulas…we expect her to be running by the end of the spring,” Bimbi said.
Though injury-plagued, the Ramblers still made an appearance in the Horizon League Tournament, advancing to the semifinals. Two of Loyola’s players received recognition from the league for their play in the tournament: Stokes and sophomore defender Allison Shimer.
Stokes was recognized for her aggressive play and exceptional leadership on the field, while Shimer gained recognition for scoring the game-winning goal for the Ramblers in the first round of the tournament.
No players were made available for comment.