Girls Lacrosse: Loyola starts fast, tops Hinsdale Central for state title
Ramblers win 15th championship, Red Devils finished runner-up for second straight year
By Stan Goff
HINSDALE – Facing a tough opponent on its home turf, the Loyola girls lacrosse team wanted a fast start in Saturday’s state championship.
The Ramblers scored the first four goals against Hinsdale Central on their way to six-goal at the half and a return to the top of girls lacrosse podium in the state of Illinois. After the strong start, Loyola finished off the Red Devils 13-8 to claim the program’s 15th championship.
“Our game (Friday), it was hot and we came out flat. We knew today we couldn’t afford to come out flat, so we had a good warmup, started out well and just carried it on,” Ramblers senior Riley Jenkins said.
The Marquette-bound Jenkins had two goals in the final, while fellow senior Eileen Dooley — also headed to Marquette to play lacrosse — tallied a team-high three goals and also had an assist. Jenkins opened the night’s scoring with an unassisted goal and made the score 4-0 just five minutes into the first half with a score off an assist from Keira Cushing.
“It’s really frustrating to come here again and not make it, to be that close. But again, I’m still so happy to be a part of this team. I wish my fellow seniors well in all of their endeavors.”
— Angie Conley, Hinsdale Central senior
Jenkins credited her teammates for another solid effort in draw controls and for their resiliency to bounce back each time Hinsdale Central (21-5-1) tried to rally.
“The draws were huge, and I feel like we all worked really well together,” she said. “You’ve got to have a short memory. If we give up a goal or two, we’ve got to find a way to come back at them. Get a draw or cause a turnover, whatever we have to do to get back.”
Dooley and Jenkins each reached 50 goals this season and each were named all-state. But the Ramblers, who will lose just three seniors to graduation, are strong throughout the lineup, including in net, where goalie Tia Boyle — another all-stater — made five saves.
“You never know what’s going to happen in a state championship game,” Ramblers veteran coach John Dwyer said. “We had a tough draw. We had to play New Trier at New Trier and we had to play Hinsdale [Central] at Hinsdale. We were up to it.”
Loyola, which closes out the year on a 13-0 run, had five different players score two goals to go along with Dooley’s trio of scores. Emma Burke, Grace Dwyer, Cushing, Jenkins and Jocelyn Park each found the back of the net twice.
For the Red Devils, this season ended with a third straight state trophy, but back-to-back tough runner-up finishes. Hinsdale Central took third in 2021.
“It’s really frustrating to come here again and not make it, to be that close,” Notre Dame-bound senior Angie Conley said. “But again, I’m still so happy to be a part of this team. I wish my fellow seniors well in all of their endeavors.”
Conley was part of last year’s squad that lost 12-11 to New Trier in overtime in the state championship.
She did all she could this year to get her team back to the final, piling up 70 goals and 64 assists heading into the state tournament. Conley and Reese Napier each scored three goals against Loyola, with Napier adding to her team-high total, which stood at 78 goals before the weekend.
Ari Tavoso, one of the team’s captains, expects the returning Red Devils to learn from Saturday’s outcome. She was one of four Hinsdale Central players to score in the final.
“I think this loss is really going to set the tone for the girls next year,” said Tavoso, who will continue her playing career at the University of California-Berkley. “You saw all the emotions, I saw all our girls crying. That’s when you know how much this means to them. It means so much. Last year, overtime on this exact same field, it’s super personal. It stinks that we couldn’t finish, but we all fought ... everyone did a really good job trying to rally back.”