With fans scheduled to return to Loyola Soccer Park after a COVID-altered spring season, the Loyola men’s soccer team is also gearing up for more normalcy with its fall 2021 season schedule.
This season’s schedule will have the team playing 18 games before the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Tournament, compared to only 11 in the abbreviated 2021 spring season. Kicking off the fall with three exhibition games, the Ramblers will then face four more non-conference opponents before diving into MVC play.
“Our entire program is looking forward to the schedule we’ve put together for the fall season,” head coach Neil Jones said in the press release Aug. 4. “We’ll battle opponents from the Big Ten, Big East, MAC and Summit League before turning our full attention to Missouri Valley Conference play, where the intensity jumps to an even higher level.”
The Ramblers will kick off the action with three exhibition games against Wisconsin schools — University of Wisconsin at Green Bay Aug. 14, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee Aug. 17 and Marquette University Aug. 21. The first two games will be played at Loyola Soccer Park before the team travels up to Milwaukee for the final exhibition.
The regular season begins with a matchup against DePaul University Aug. 26 in Lincoln Park before the Ramblers’ home opener Aug. 29 against Western Michigan University. The team will also host Northwestern University Sept. 3 for Loyola’s annual Hustle to Hoyne match before travelling to play Western Illinois University Sept. 11.
Loyola will play 10 MVC games before the Tournament with one home and away matchup against each of the five teams — Drake University, Bradley University, University of Evansville and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, which is returning to MVC men’s soccer this season.
The Ramblers will also be playing every other game on the road during MVC play, a change from the previously more varied schedules of pre-COVID seasons.
The team will play its first MVC matchup at Evansville Sept. 18 before a week-long break from conference play. The Ramblers then host Drake Sept. 25 for Alumni Night before travelling to play Bradley Sept. 25.
After hosting SIUE Oct. 3, the team will make the trek to Missouri State to face the current MVC champions Oct. 9. Loyola then takes another week-long break from conference play before heading off to Iowa for a match against Drake Oct. 23, returning to Loyola Soccer Park to host Bradley Oct. 27.
The Ramblers will play their final road game at SIUE Oct. 31 before finishing off the regular season at home with a matchup against Missouri State for Loyola’s Senior Night Nov. 6.
The MVC Tournament is scheduled to be played Nov. 9-14 at campus sites.
Loyola, who finished second in the MVC Championship last season, returns six All-Valley honorees from last season among their 19 letterwinners. Two of these players — midfielders Giann Magno and Tyler Biggs — will be playing their fifth year for Loyola as graduate students after taking their extra year of eligibility from the NCAA.
The team will also welcome six new players from the first-year class.