The mascot of Loyola University Chicago is the wolf, and the team name is the Ramblers. And that’s exclusive to all teams at Loyola; everyone knows that, right? Wrong. There is one group out there who calls itself the Loyola Hobos: the club lacrosse teams.
“To be honest, I’ve never understood why the Rambler mascot is a wolf,” said Mike Lempko, the lacrosse club president. “The lacrosse team has always had the Hobo as the mascot.”
To customize its jerseys, a year ago the team substituted the over-the-shoulder bag that the Hobo was holding to a lacrosse stick.
Loyola’s lacrosse team plays in the Chicago division of the Great Lakes league. They play other teams from Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan.
The regular season doesn’t begin until the spring for the lacrosse team, but both Loyola’s men’s and women’s teams have already started practicing and playing a few preseason games against local teams.
To start off the season, Loyola faced off against cross-town rival DePaul University in an opening scrimmage on Sept. 30. Loyola lost the game 4-3, but showed potential for the upcoming season.
“We’ve got some conditioning to still do, but it’s nice to see we do have a goaltender who is incredible; we’re excited about that,” Lempko said. “Our defense looked really strong, our offense could use some work. We have a lot of work to do in practice.”
The team will face off next in a double- header at Northwestern University on Nov. 2.
Anyone who wants to be a part of the team can join, at least for the fall season. But when it comes time for the regular season in the spring, there may be a few cuts if too many people try out.
“We allow everyone to participate,” said Lempko, a 21-year-old senior. “Not everyone who wants to play actually plays in the games, though. We’ll have tryouts in the spring.”
The lacrosse team practices twice a week in the evenings at Hoyne Field and tries to spend time together as a team off the field.
Loyola has had a club lacrosse team for more than a decade, and during that time the team has come very close to claiming a couple of championships.
“My freshman year, we were great,” Lempko said. “There were a lot of seniors on the team, [but] we lost in the championship game.”
The season after that championship run, 2011-2012, the team went through a bit of a lull as it worked through the rebuilding process.
Last year, however, the team finished the season with a record of 6-2 in league play. The Hobos made it to the playoffs, but due to lack of players, did not compete.
Despite the lacrosse team’s success over the past decade, not many Loyola students are aware that Loyola has a lacrosse team.
We’d love to get increased awareness about our team out there,” said Lempko, a finance and economics major. “Most people don’t know we have a team. Students ask me what sport I play, and when I say lacrosse, they respond, ‘Oh, I didn’t know we had a lacrosse team!’”
To help the team develop a steady fan base, the players are hoping to play more games at Hoyne Field (2101 W. Devon Ave.), the Hobos’ official home field.
Hiring an official coach would bring the team to the next level, and is a move Lempko hopes will happen in the future.
“Essentially, the coach will help the team to play at a more advanced level,” Lempko said. “If we had a coach, the team could move up in the division and potentially win the league.”