Sophomore infielder Haley Wallace has been an unstoppable force for the Loyola women’s softball team since her arrival at Rogers Park in 2021.
Haley Wallace Makes Impact on Loyola’s Softball Team
Sophomore infielder Haley Wallace has been an unstoppable force for the Loyola women’s softball team since her arrival at Rogers Park in 2021. After playing in all 47 games last season with a team-high 19 RBIs, Wallace has had a hot start to her collegiate career. To begin the 2023 campaign, Wallace went on a six-game hit streak, starting at the Paradise Classic in Boca Raton, Florida Feb. 10.
Wallace said she has been playing the sport she fell in love with since she was 8 years old. Her biggest influence growing up was all of the college players she would watch on the big screen and how much she wanted to be like them.
The Hanna City, Illinois native said she played throughout high school, earning multiple area and conference recognitions by the time she was a sophomore. Her standout statistics had schools calling from all over but said she wanted to make Loyola home.
“I had some options for where I would want to go but usually in my head, it was always I want to go Division I,” Wallace said. “It just really felt like the right fit here at Loyola…I love Chicago. I wanted to take the opportunity to come here and to kind of branch out and find out what life would be like living in the big city.”
Loyola Head Coach Alicia Abbott said Wallace fit right in at Loyola, adding that she had become a consistent rotational player for the Ramblers. Characterized as “goofy” and “really, really positive” by Abbott, Wallace had to grow on the team to have the bright personality she has today.
“When she first walked in, she was so quiet,” Abbott said. “Kind of just in her own little bubble, in her own little shell, and I think this year especially, she really embraced being as goofy as possible. It is so fun to watch her light up and make jokes and make silly Tik Tok dances a lot.”
On the field, Abbott said Wallace is not much different and has been consistently playing a big role in creating positive team chemistry during gameplay. Abbott describes Wallace as a standout defender who can play anywhere the team needs her.
The future is bright for Wallace, according to Abbot. With an additional two years left of undergraduate studies, she still has plenty of time left to make a lasting impact on this team by continuing to gain experience against tough competition and stepping into a leadership position.
Wallace described the lasting impact her teammates and coaches have on her and pushes her to be the player she is today.
“I just love being around my teammates, that is just such a huge part of why I love playing here.” Wallace said. “They are all so great and it’s so fun constantly competing against each other and we really care about each other in ways that really push us all to do better things.”
With the transition from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Atlantic-10, Wallace and the team will be facing many new competitors and challenges this season.
“We are in a new conference and we see a lot of good opportunities being in the conference,” Wallace said. “I think we all have just been pushing each other and that’s really been helpful for me. Just knowing that I have my teammates by my side that are going to keep pushing me.”
Catch Wallace and the Loyola women’s softball team when they compete at the Saluki Invitational Mar. 4th against Butler University, University of Southern Illinois and the University of Tennessee at Martin. First pitch is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. and the broadcast information has yet to be announced.