Earlier this week, I took part in the Atlantic 10 Media Day session featuring the Loyola Ramblers Head Coach Allison Guth, along with senior players Julia Hoefling and Sam Galanopoulos. That session can be found at On the Beat With Loyola WBB Media Day.
The Atlantic 10 Conference held Media Day for women's basketball, featuring individual sessions with the coach and two players from each school. Conference newcomer Loyola University was represented by new Head Coach Allison Guth and senior players Sam Galanopoulos and Julia Hoefling.
Chicago area native Coach Guth returns to Loyola. Where she served as an assistant 2005-2007. She was also an assistant at Missouri, DePaul, Yale and Northwestern, before being named Head Coach at Yale in 2015. Prior to embarking on a coaching career, Guth was a three-year letterwinner at the University of Illinois.
Guth takes over a Loyola team that was 18-12 last season. She inherits a team with four seniors. She also gets incoming seniors Emma and Sophia Nolan, who transferred from St. John's.
Since her arrival, Guth has showed a lot of energy and positivity. She has discussed the importance of family, friends and support, thanking both those around her and all of her players. This was all very evident in her introductory press session in the offseason and she reinforced it in this media session.
Guth discussed what to expect from her and the team. She talked about the challenges for Loyola in their new conference. The Ramblers previously played in the Missouri Valley Conference. She discussed adding the Nolan sisters and relying on her seniors for leadership as the team adjusts to the new coach and new conference.
Representing those seniors, Hoefling and Galanopoulos stated they are excited about the challenges and ready to lead. Both discussed the challenges and rewards of new coaching and new conference.
During her three years at Loyola, guard Galanopoulos played 86 games, averaging 5.7 points and 2.6 rebounds and assists in 25.6 minutes. Last season, she had career highs, averaging 7.0 points, 3.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 29.9 minutes.
Forward Hoefling also had career highs last season. She started 29 games, and averaged 4.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 23.8 minutes.
Guards Anna Brown and Jala Johnson are the other two returning seniors. The addition of the Nolan sisters will create competition for playing time, hopefully resulting in everyone rising to the challenge.
Loyola opens their exhibition season hosting Purdue Northwest Sunday, October 30. They open their regular season at Western Michigan Monday, November 7. They also play at Milwaukee, before their home opener Wednesday, November 16 against Virginia.
Much like at Guth's introductory press conference, I expect the stands at Gentile Arena to be filled with family and friends ushering the new era. I will also be there, in media row.