Upperclass Leadership Bridges Age Gaps, Builds Trust at Loyola


Livy Rosenzweig is Loyola's top offensive producer this season and is a "role model," according to Jen Adams.

Each February, just before the start of the spring season, Loyola goes on a retreat.

It helps set the tone for the spring and ensures that all players feel valued and understand their importance — regardless of their roles.

“We lay it out on the table and talk about how important it is that everyone knows how much of an integral part they are to the team — regardless [of] if they’re stepping on the field for two minutes, 60 minutes or zero minutes,” graduate attacker Livy Rosenzweig said.

Over the course of the season, it’s those who play the full 60 minutes who typically get the most recognition. For the Greyhounds, most of those players have been upperclassmen.

The program’s top scorers — Rosenzweig and midfielder Sam Fiedler — are both fifth-year standouts. Starting goalkeeper Kaitlyn Larsson is a fifth-year player, too. Midfielder Jillian Wilson, who leads the Greyhounds in draw controls, is a senior. So is defender Katie Detwiler, the program’s leader in caused turnovers.

Although these players might be making headlines, the Greyhounds feel a teamwide culture of buy-in, chemistry and inclusion — bonds the February retreat helped establish — have been key to their breakout campaign.

Loyola, while successful in recent years, is enjoying a season like no other. With their win against James Madison on Sunday, the Greyhounds hit 20 wins for the first time in program history. Loyola is 20-1, that lone loss coming against Syracuse by one goal in March.

Now, entering Thursday’s NCAA quarterfinal against No. 3 Boston College in Chestnut Hill, the same group of veterans leading Loyola on the field is fostering Loyola’s positive culture off the field, too.

Coach Jen Adams credited the program’s fifth-year players with bridging the gap between the program’s upperclassmen and underclassmen. While Adams has been impressed with their gameday performances, she said she appreciates their care and respect for younger players the most.

“They’ve been such incredible role models,” Adams said. “[They’re] taking these players under their wing and making them feel comfortable and confident.”

Over her five years at Loyola, Rosenzweig said she’s never been closer with her teammates. She feels everyone buys into their roles and understands their importance, saying the Greyhounds’ close bonds are clear on the field, too.

Adams said Loyola has always had a tight knit, “cliche” family kind of atmosphere.

“This is a sisterhood,” Adams said. “These gals have each other’s backs, and they’re so supportive of each other and care about each other and love being around each other.”

After COVID-19 affected the 2020 season — and to some degree, 2021 — Rosenzweig said it’s exciting being able to just hang out with her teammates again.

Now, the Greyhounds are taking full advantage of their time together off the field. Spending time at upperclassmen’s off-campus houses is one way Loyola has fostered a sense of community. Rosenzweig’s house hosted a teamwide Super Bowl pot-luck in February and had freshmen over earlier this month to watch Loyola’s men’s lacrosse team play.

Adams said breaking down boundaries between grade levels has been a key part of Loyola’s culture since her arrival. She cited Rosenzweig’s close friendship with freshman attacker Georgia Latch, saying the two have become “inseparable” despite a four-year age gap.

These close bonds off the field have only strengthened the Greyhounds’ performance on the field. It came across in several ways against James Madison, she said, including players’ “uncanny ability” to find each other and multiple scorers stepping up to the plate.

Rosenzweig, Loyola’s leading scorer, didn’t tally a goal in the matchup. But she dished out a game-high six assists — another sign of the Greyhounds’ trust in each other.

“That’s the kind of chemistry we see off the field — the selflessness, having each other’s backs and positivity,” Adams said. “They feed energy to each other, and we saw that in the game. When we get scored on, they’re bringing it together and [saying], ‘Brush it off. We’ll get the next one.’ They feel very confident in each other.”

Adams said the upperclassmen’s leadership has also played a key role in younger players’ ability to “play with maturity.”

While Loyola’s dominance has much to do with its upperclassmen stars, underclassmen are finding their footing as well. Sophomore Sydni Black ranks fifth on the team in goals and recorded a hat trick against James Madison. Black, Latch and freshman midfielder Chase Boyle have all scored 20-plus goals this season, too.

Now, as the Greyhounds approach their date with Boston College, Adams feels her team is up for the challenge. With Loyola’s depth, strong abilities and “a little bit of luck,” she hopes to take her program where it hasn’t been in nearly two decades: the NCAA semifinals.

“We said it in our locker room after the last game: ‘We didn’t come here to do just as well as we have done as a program in recent years,’” Adams said. “‘We came in here to do something Loyola teams of recent years have not done, and that’s get ourselves to a Final Four.’ We’ve got our sights set high.”


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