Sports

Men’s Soccer Ready To Take Back MVC Title Through Conference Play

Neil Beran | The PhoenixAfter winning the Missouri Valley Conference championship in 2019 and falling to Missouri State during the spring 2021 championship, the Loyola men's soccer team hopes to return once again.

After falling just short of an Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) title to Missouri State University in 2020, the Loyola men’s soccer team is ready to take on its ten game conference schedule. After Loyola’s victory on Sept. 11 against Western Illinois University, graduate goalkeeper Marcel Kampman stressed the motivation to do well in conference play.

“Conference play is what we live for,” Kampman said. “That is the most well defined route to the [NCAA] tournament. Every game is a tough game in the Valley no matter where they are ranked.”

The Ramblers go on the road Sept. 18 in Evansville to take on the Purple Aces. Rounding out the month, Loyola will host Drake University on Sept. 25 before traveling to Peoria to take on Bradley University Sept. 29.

Starting out October, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) comes to Loyola Soccer Park on the 3rd. The following Saturday, last season’s MVC champion Missouri State will welcome the Ramblers Oct. 9.

The rivalry between Missouri State and Loyola goes back to their first meeting on Oct. 5, 2013 in Springfield, MO. Since then, the Bears have had a slight edge in the rivalry going 7-5-3. Since 2018, all three MVC Championships have been won by Missouri State or the Ramblers, with Loyola taking more of the conference titles.

Much like the end of September, the final week in October has contests against Drake and Bradley. This time Loyola will travel to Des Moines to take on Drake on the 23rd while Bradley comes to Chicago on Oct. 27.

Loyola will travel to Edwardsville Oct. 31 to take on the SIUE Cougars. Loyola has done historically well against SIUE, winning three of its last four contests.

Junior defender Michael Hong emphasized correcting mistakes before conference play after the victory against Western Illinois University Sept.11. He said reviewing tape and practice will result in success not just in the opener, but all season long.

“Conference play is huge, it’s a way to the NCAA [tournament],” Hong said. “We need to look at the film, get better and get ready to go into Evansville and get a few points.” 

The regular season will conclude Nov. 6 when Missouri State travels to the Windy City for Loyola’s Senior Night. The MVC Tournament kicks off three days later on Nov. 9 as Loyola looks to reclaim their title back from Missouri State since the Ramblers’ last championship victory in 2019.

The Ramblers will face the Evansville Purple Aces in Evansville, Indiana Sept. 18 at 5 p.m., and can be streamed on ESPN3.

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