Despite the impending doom of a long, cold Chicago winter, I am excited. I was just confirmed to be back "On the Beat" for my fifth season with the Loyola Ramblers Women's Basketball team.
Last season was Coach Allison Guth's first season with the team. It was also their first year in a new conference. That's already a lot of change. Then injuries set m/ The team struggled to a 6-24 season.
I admit, some games were tough to watch. Playing short-handed at times, the team suffered some big losses. Somehow though, the team seemed better than the record indicated. That doesn't mean they underachieved. Quite the opposite. They played hard and fought in every game, even when the outcome was sealed by halftime.
Right from the start, I felt something different with the team. When I left the first game, I called my long-time buddy Louie, uncle of guard Sam Galanopoulos and told him something special was being built at Loyola. I always respected the play of the Ramblers, but I really liked this team under Guth.
I always enjoyed the post-game press sessions. The players were positive, despite logging lots of tough minutes. Coach Guth was such a class act. After every session, she thanked me and the others individually for covering the team.
After the team finished 6-24, I still felt the future was bright. At the risk of sounding like a homer, i really thought this team needed a season under Coach Guth, in the new conference with better health.
The regular season starts November 6 at home against UIC. I am calling for a close win over their city rivals. I am also calling for twice as many wins as last season. I even think a .500 season is possible. No matter what, I will be courtside for many games, thanks to the hospitality of the Loyola University Athletics Department.
Check my coverage of the Ramblers here, GlobalTravelerUSA.com, TheEveryDayFan.com and the Johngy's Beat NCAA playlist on YouTube. Also, check LoyolaRamblers.com for more in-depth coverage, including box scores, pictures and other game-related notes.