Wilmette, Sports

Young Loyola can’t match Glenbrook South in sectional play

The term “error” is used in several sports, but its general meaning is universally understood. Errors are not good.

You didn’t need to tell Loyola Academy volleyball that on Monday, Oct. 30, when the Ramblers’ numerous and untimely errors doomed their playoff run in a 25-18, 23-25, 25-15 loss to Glenbrook South in a sectional semifinal in Glenview.

“We didn’t pass the ball well and we missed our zones a lot on serving, which led to a lot of unforced hitting errors as well. We made a lot of unforced errors,” Loyola coach Lionel Ebeling said. “… They played really well. We picked a bad day to not have a good game.”

Head coach Lionel Ebeling talks with his Ramblers during a timeout in the playoff match.

The Titans move on to the sectional championship on Wednesday, Nov. 1, against the sectional’s top seed, New Trier. The Trevians toppled Maine South 25-13, 25-23 on Monday. New Trier senior Ana Vetter racked up 13 kills in the sweep, while Kitkat McGregor added 7 kills and Jenny Perkins 14 assists and two aces.

In the Loyola-GBS nightcap, Glenbrook South took control of the first set 6-1 and 11-4 to lead to the one-set advantage.

The Ramblers fought back, grabbing control of a back-and-forth second set late. Junior middle Ellen Gundlach smacked 6 of her team-high 12 kills in Set 2, and senior outside Bella Donato chipped in 5 of her 6 kills in her team’s 25-23 win.

But Loyola’s momentum was shortlived. The Titans again grabbed an early lead, 5-1, and expanded it to 13-5 on the back of a series of Loyola errors. GBS held Loyola at an arm’s length the rest of the way to take the set and match.

Loyola finished with 30 errors (serve, attack, set), more than double that of Glenbrook South (13).

“That’s playoff volleyball. You have to live to fight for another point,” Ebeling said. “If it’s not perfect, you still have to find it. … You have to play clean volleyball.”

Loyola senior Bella Donato winds up for a serve on Monday, Oct. 30.

Ebeling, who also coaches the Ramblers boys team, completed his first year as girls coach and said he juiced up Loyola’s schedule in the hopes of preparing them for postseason pressure.

In the sectional game Monday, however, he said the team’s normally strong passing game was off, leading to a more chaotic offense and more attack errors.

The loss ends a 23-15 season for a young Loyola Academy, which started four juniors — Gundlach, middle Addison Leadbetter, setter Julia York and outside Lauren Schrantz — and played the season without injured star outside hitter Grace Kreutz, also a junior.

Ebeling said the playoff run, which included a regional-finals victory over Glenbrook North, is good for the Ramblers’ future.

“We’re a young team,” he said. “We have a lot to look forward to. Our girls need to be in these situations to feel the playoff pressure and hopefully we can build off of this for next year.”

Loyola says goodbye to seniors Donato; setter Reilly Garrity (17 assists), who will play for the University of New Hampshire next season; libero Madeline Thomas (9 digs), who Ebeling called phenomenal; and defensive specialists Mary Clare Brady and Gretchen Couri.

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

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