Junior defensive midfielder Madison Laudeman was a dominant defensive presence throughout the season and a deciding factor in Loyola women’s soccer’s success.
Loyola’s season came to an end Nov. 9 after losing to Florida State University 1-0 in the NCAA Tournament. The Ramblers’ run to the NCAA Tournament was fueled by dominant performances on the defensive end by players such as Laudeman, according to head coach Barry Bimbi.
Bimbi said Laudeman, 20, has been the backbone of the defense and played a large part in Loyola’s five shutouts, which ranked fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC).
“The shutouts and the goals against were really a product of [Laudeman] leading the young players,” Bimbi said. “When you know you have someone back there you can trust and they trust you, good things will happen.”
Laudeman, a biology major, said she’s consistently worked on her game throughout her years at Loyola. Bimbi said her hard work has paid off with her winning the MVC Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Laudeman said the achievement was a result of team success and excellent communication.
“To me, it’s not just me in the back … sure, I got the award, but I can’t do it without the four people next to me and everyone in front of me,” Laudeman said. “I know it wasn’t just me back there who deserves it.”
Bimbi said the stability Laudeman provides for the team is difficult to define, but it can be seen in her play and the play of her teammates. However, Laudeman’s control of the pace and tempo of the game helped Loyola allow only 22 goals all season, which tied for fourth in the MVC.
Despite her awards and accolades, Laudeman said she, along with the rest of the team, kept a laser focus on the NCAA Tournament.
Bimbi said Laudeman is the type of player who can contribute to the defense in more ways than just on the field. He added Laudeman puts work in during and outside of practice, and she works every day to improve her game in some way.
“We always talked about being more vocal, she is miles ahead of where she was [as a first-year],” Bimbi said. “You can’t organize [every teammate] at the same time, you have to organize the immediate danger and she is starting to process that information quicker.”
Senior defender Taylor Lambouris said Laudeman is an amazing teammate because of the immense trust she has in the rest of her team. Lambouris said it’s the trust between teammates that has made the Ramblers’ defense so deadly.
“It’s really good being able to trust [Laudeman],” Lambouris said. “Just having that good relationship between the players really helps.”
According to Lambouris, Laudeman has worked hard to improve her game while at Loyola and she expects better seasons to come. She added a lot of the work Laudeman puts in to help the team, such as her communication, can’t be seen in the box score. Bimbi said the improvements Laudeman has made throughout her career are clear when looking at the way in which Loyola has dominated the MVC this season. In conference games, Loyola ranked first in shutouts with four, and third in goals against average at 0.84.
Laudeman said she takes great pride in the way in which she and her teammates improve each and every year. Bimbi said he expects the team to continue to improve and come back even stronger next year. With Laudeman returning for her senior year next season, she said she looks to continue to improve her game and not rest on her laurels.