Women’s Volleyball Head Coach Amanda Berkley Picks Up 200th Career Win in Victory Over Duke

Entering her sixth season as head coach at Loyola, Berkley has built the women’s volleyball team into a perennial contender.

Amanda Berkley, head coach of the Loyola women’s volleyball team, secured the 200th win of her head coaching career in a victory over the Duke University Blue Devils Aug. 26, which the Ramblers won in straight sets to pick up their first win of the season. 

Entering her sixth season as head coach at Loyola, Berkley has built the women’s volleyball team into a perennial contender. She is tasked with overseeing the Ramblers as they begin their campaign for a fourth straight 20-win season and for a second Atlantic-10 championship. 

Berkley’s overall record at Loyola sits at 97-54 (.642) and over her entire career is 201-113 (.640). Before arriving at Loyola, Berkley was the head coach at the University of Southern Mississippi, a position she held for five seasons. 

Berkley said she didn’t know she was approaching the milestone coming into the tournament hosted by Purdue University. In fact, she only found out she had crossed the threshold after the team was on the way home from their game against Duke.

“On the bus after we won, I think a graphic came out and it was Emily Bannit who said, ‘Congrats Amanda on 200 wins,’” Berkeley said. “And I was like, ‘What? Oh wow, neat.’ I guess I didn’t have any idea that was going to happen.”

During her tenure at Loyola, Berkley has led the Ramblers to their longest run of sustained success since the early 2000s as the Ramblers have won at least 20 games in each of the last three seasons. 

In 2021 and 2022, the Ramblers won back-to-back regular season conference championships in both the Missouri Valley Conference and in the A-10 during their first season in the new league. Berkley said all of the recent success at Loyola leading up to this personal accolade has meant a lot to her.

“It’s pretty neat that we were able to accomplish that this year, and you know there’s a lot of people that take part in these wins,” she said. “A lot of players have been really good and been successful, so it’s pretty neat to do it here at Loyola, because I just love Loyola so much.”

Fourth-year outside hitter Karlie McNabb, who has played for Berkley through the string of recent success, said the coaches are a huge part of the team and its success. She said it has been exciting to watch the team and its support staff get better every year. 

“Watching her grow, along with her watching us grow, has been really cool to be a part of,” McNabb said. “Because coming in, it was like, we weren’t sure what it was going to be like and coming out, I’m just sad. I don’t want to leave.”

McNabb said, just like Berkley herself, the team wasn’t aware their coach was approaching the milestone and was preparing the team and treating the tournament just like she would for any other game. 

“She’s such like a humble and quiet leader, and she deserves it,” McNabb said. ”And we all are very happy for her, but it’s awesome that she’s not out here like trying to put any pressure on us to get these wins. She just is so for the team and not for herself and that’s why she gets wins.”

The Ramblers followed up their win over Duke by defeating the No. 16 Purdue University Boilermakers the next day in which they overcame adversity throughout and a first set loss to get their season off to a rolling start. 

Looking forward to the rest of non-conference play and competition within the A-10, Berkley said she feels the team only gets better with every game and every practice. She said as the season progresses, the key for the team is staying focused.

“It’s going to be just to continue to limit errors and be ready to be pushed, because we’ll have a target on our back this year,” Berkley said. “We’re picked to finish first, so we’re going to be everyone’s best match and so we’ve got to come ready to play.”

Reflecting on her career thus far, Berkley said the wins she is most proud of include last year’s A-10 championship which gave the team an NCAA tournament berth, a win in the semifinals of the 2021 MVC tournament a win with Southern Miss in 2015 where they defeated Rice University to take second in Conference USA that season.

 of all her wins as a head coach she is most proud of include the win in last year’s A-10 championship which gave the team an NCAA tournament berth, a win in the semifinals of the 2021 MVC tournament and a win at Southern Miss where her and the Golden Eagles defeated Rice University to take second in Conference USA that season. 

When asked what advice she would give herself before she first assumed the head coaching job as Southern Miss, she thought for a second and said the biggest thing is to trust yourself. 

“Just trust your gut and just trust that you know what you’re doing and trust the process,” Berkley said. “And you might make mistakes, but you also learn from those mistakes.” 

Featured image courtesy of Steve Woltmann | Loyola Athletics

Griffin Krueger

Griffin Krueger

Griffin Krueger is the Editor-in-Chief of The Phoenix. He began working for The Phoenix during his first week at Loyola and previously served as Assistant News Editor and Sports Editor. Krueger is a fourth-year Political Science major with minors in Economics and History. In his free time he enjoys reading and exploring the city on his bike.
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