Wilmette, Sports

State championship punctuates Ramblers’ impressive second-half run

Nothing says “championship ready” like four goals in the first five minutes.

Loyola Academy’s early onslaught in the state championship game set the tone for a 13-8 victory against Hinsdale Central on Saturday, June 3, at Hinsdale Central High School.

The victory gave the Ramblers their 15th overall state crown — all under the direction of head coach John Dwyer — and second (2021) since the IHSA took over control of the sport’s state series.

“It was amazing,” senior All-Stater Eileen Dooley said. “Being a senior on this team, we put in so much work this year, to see that work pay off is such an awesome feeling.”

Dooley was as expected a key contributor in the state finale, scoring a team-high four goals and adding an assist. In a show of depth, five other Ramblers — Riley Jenkins, Keira Cushing, Grace Dwyer, Jocelyn Park and Emma Burke — scored two goals apiece.

Loyola kept Hinsdale Central outside of striking distance all game. The Ramblers built up a six-goal lead, 8-2, by halftime, and they weathered a brief Red Devils’ storm early in the second half.

Central scored three of the second half’s first four goals to trim the gap to four goals, 9-5, but Loyola answered by scoring three of the next four to reclaim its six-goal advantage.

“Winning the draws really won us the game,” said Dooley, who scored two goals in that stretch. “Beginning in the second half, they went on a run. We called timeout and were able to reset and win the draw and keep our lead.”

On the night, Loyola outdrew Central 14-8.

Dooley’s free-position goal extended the Ramblers’ lead to seven, 13-6, and Hinsdale couldn’t get enough possessions to threaten a comeback.

Rivals Loyola Academy and New Trier have traded IHSA state championships over the last four years. In 2022, the Ramblers lost by one goal to the Trevians twice, including in a New Trier comeback win in the sectional championship.

This time around, Loyola ousted New Trier 8-5 in the sectional and finished off their title run with wins over Lake Forest (17-5) and Hinsdale Central (13-8).

“It’s a lot more special (because of last year’s loss,” Dooley said. “It was a bummer last year. … Those of us on the team last year were just very excited to have the opportunity to beat them and play in the state championship. It made it way more special.”

Loyola finished 22-4 on the season with the only losses coming to out-of-state opponents. It finished the season on a 13-game winning streak.

Dooley was one of seven First Team All-State selections for the Ramblers. The others were junior goalie Tia Boyle, sophomore midfielder Burke, freshman attack Dwyer, junior defender Sophie Goldberg and senior Jenkins. Three more Ramblers made the second team: senior defender Dottie Ghislandi, freshman defender Ingrid Kavanagh and junior midfielder Park.

Three of us graduating.

Dooley, who will play at Marquette University next season, is one of three seniors graduating the program. She laughed as she said the Ramblers’ future is bright.

“They have a strong sophomore class and junior class,” she said. “I think they’ll be pretty good the next couple years.”

The Record is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community newsroom that relies on reader support to fuel its independent local journalism.

Subscribe to The Record to fund responsible news coverage for your community.

Already a subscriber? You can make a tax-deductible donation at any time.

joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

Related Stories