Women’s Soccer Headlines the 2020 Phoenix Sports Awards

Courtesy of Missouri State AthleticsThe Loyola women's soccer team will come into the 2021 season as back-to-back MVC Champions.

The Phoenix sports section ran eight polls on its @LUPhoenixSports Twitter account to determine which teams, players and moments Loyola fans deemed worthy of the first ever Phoenix Sports Awards. There were 834 votes among the eight polls with an average of 104 votes per poll. 

Team of the Year Women’s Soccer 

Stephanie Miller | The Phoenix The Loyola women’s soccer team stands at midfield for the national anthem.

The women’s soccer team repeated as Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) regular season and tournament champions. The Ramblers finished 14-5-1 overall and 7-0-0 in conference — the only women’s MVC team to go undefeated in conference play. First-year forward Megan Nemec was named MVC Freshman of the Year while senior defender Madison Laudeman repeated as MVC Defensive Player of the Year. Head coach Barry Bimbi and his staff repeated as MVC Coaching Staff of the Year. The Ramblers played in their second consecutive NCAA Tournament but lost to Hofstra University 1-0 in the first round. 

Coach of the Year — Barry Bimbi

Steve Woltmann | Loyola Athletics Loyola women’s soccer coach Barry Bimbi and his staff won their second straight MVC Coaching Staff of the Year award Nov. 7.

As head coach of the women’s soccer team, Barry Bimbi led the team to repeat as MVC champions and reach a second NCAA tournament appearance in his nine-year tenure. He led the team to an undefeated conference record despite losing Jenna Szczesny and Madison Kimball — the top-two goal scorers from the previous season. Bimbi has a history of stacking his non-conference play against notably good teams and this year was no exception as the team started the season just 1-3-0; but turned the year around. In overcoming these early hurdles, they stacked up nicely against every team in the MVC, leading Bimbi and his assistants to a second consecutive win as MVC Coaching Staff of the Year. 

Male Athlete of the Year — Aidan Megally 

Neil Beran | The Phoenix Former Loyola forward Aidan Megally shoots a penalty kick against Drake at Loyola Soccer Park Oct. 27.

After Loyola men’s soccer finished second in MVC regular season standings, senior forward Aidan Megally was named MVC Player of the Year. The Park Ridge native scored nine goals on the season — a mark which ranked second in the conference. His four assists tied for the second-most by a Rambler this past season. Megally helped his team to a win in penalty kicks against previously undefeated Missouri State University to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016. He’s only the second Loyola men’s soccer player to ever be named MVC Player of the Year. 

Female Athlete of the Year — Madison Laudeman 

Loyola senior defender Madison Laudeman takes a shot against DePaul Sept. 12.

Finishing out her women’s soccer career at Loyola, senior defender Madison Laudeman repeated as the Defensive Player of the Year. She was a standout for Loyola’s defensive unit that allowed a conference best 0.29 goals per game during MVC play. This also included five shutouts. Laudeman was on the field for all but 11 minutes of play this season. In addition to her defensive efforts, she contributed a goal and three assists on offense.

Freshman of the Year Megan Nemec 

Stephanie Miller | The Phoenix First-year forward Megan Nemec prepares to receive the ball.

Loyola women’s soccer first-year forward Megan Nemec was named Newcomer of the Week four times before earning her title as the MVC Freshman of the Year. She wasted no time showing her skills for the Ramblers. She led the team in scoring with six goals and five assists.

Newcomer of the Year Tate Hall

Emily Burdett | The Phoenix Loyola redshirt junior guard Tate Hall dribbles the ball up the court against Illinois State at Gentile Arena Feb. 19.

After sitting out a season due to NCAA rules following his transfer from University of Indianapolis, redshirt junior guard Tate Hall started every single game for the men’s basketball team this season. He played the most minutes and was the second-leading scorer for the Ramblers with an average of 12.7 points per game — trailing only junior center Cameron Krutwig. After his standout performance during conference play, he was named to both the third team All-MVC and the All-Newcomer Team. In addition, he helped the team to a second place finish in the MVC. 

Top Player of the Year Who Didn’t Get a Full Season — Cole Schlothauer

Zack Miller | The Phoenix Cole Schlothauer (1) takes a jump to spike the ball.

While his season may have been cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that didn’t stop redshirt freshman outside hitter Cole Schlothauer from making an impact on the men’s volleyball team. He led the Ramblers with 3.79 per set — a 1.25 difference from the second-best mark. He was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Honorable Mention All-America, Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Newcomer of the Year and first team All-MIVA. 

Game of the Year —Men’s Soccer vs. Missouri State University in the MVC Tournament Final 

Neil Beran | The Phoenix The Loyola men’s soccer team celebrates winning the MVC Tournament Nov. 17.

Coming in as the No. 2 seed against an undefeated Missouri State men’s soccer team, Loyola was considered the underdog for this matchup. The Ramblers and Bears played to a 1-1 tie through 110 minutes of the MVC Tournament championship, and Loyola outscored Missouri State 5-4 in penalty kicks to seal the victory. Loyola sophomore midfielder Ethan Stoneman scored the game-winning penalty kick to send the Ramblers to the dance after nearly three hours of soccer on a cold day at Loyola Soccer Park Nov. 17.

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