The Loyola women’s soccer team isn’t a stranger to what it takes to win. After securing their third consecutive Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Championship this past season, the Ramblers are looking to add a fourth in fall 2021.
The upcoming season will serve as a return to normalcy for Loyola, after the fall 2020 season was postponed to spring 2021 and abbreviated due to COVID-19 concerns. Now, the Ramblers are set to play 20 games this fall before the MVC Tournament, compared to just nine in the past spring.
“We are once again fortunate to have been able to put together an extremely challenging non-conference schedule to prepare us for the rigors of Missouri Valley Conference play,” head coach Barry Bimbi said with the schedule’s release June 30.
Loyola will kick off its season in early August with three exhibitions — University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Aug. 7, University of Illinois at Chicago Aug. 10 and Northwestern University Aug. 14. Although the Ramblers will head south to play UIC on their turf, they’ll be hosting Milwaukee and Northwestern at Loyola Soccer Park.
Loyola will travel to Ohio to play Miami University Aug. 19 in the regular season opener, then host Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in the home opener Aug. 22. The team then heads to Florida to face off against Florida Atlantic University Aug. 27 and Florida Gulf Coast University Aug. 29.
Heading into September, the Ramblers will face two Big 10 Conference opponents in a row to kick off the month. They’ll be hosting University of Wisconsin-Madison Sept. 2 before heading down to play University of Nebraska-Lincoln Sept. 5. The team will continue its road trip when it plays against DePaul University Sept. 9 before heading to Xavier University Sept. 12.
The Ramblers will kick off MVC play when they host Indiana State University Sept. 17 before finishing their non-conference schedule with a home match against Eastern Michigan University Sept. 19. They’ll then host University of Northern Iowa Sept. 25 before heading out on the road again.
The team will travel to play University of Evansville Sept. 29 and Drake University Oct. 3 before briefly returning to Loyola Soccer Park to host Missouri State University Oct. 9. The Ramblers then head out on the road for the last trip of the regular season, facing Illinois State University Oct. 13 and Southern Illinois University Oct. 17.
They’ll return to Rogers Park Oct. 28 to close out the season against Valparaiso University in a rematch of last season’s championship.
This year’s tournament is scheduled to begin Oct. 31 and the championship match is set for Nov. 7. The competition will be held at campus sites.
Loyola is returning a strong group this fall — 21 players of last season’s squad, including five All-MVC selections. The Ramblers also welcome six first-years along with two graduate transfers.
The team finished the season with an 8-2-1 overall record and a 6-1-1 record in MVC play.