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Exploring club sports at Loyola


This story has been updated to include additional voices from club sports players at Loyola.

Loyola has many club sports to offer to its students—from basketball and soccer to rugby and ultimate frisbee, there is a sport for everyone.

Greyhound editors Jeffery Bozzi ‘23 and Jimmy Cody ‘23 investigated various club sports at Loyola, and each interviewed a team member from various men’s and women’s club sports teams including men’s club baseball, men’s club rugby, women’s club lacrosse, women’s club rugby, and others.

Participating in a club team starts with a simple first step: joining a team. Cody talked to Danny Gillcrist ‘23, a member of Loyola’s men’s club rugby team. Club rugby is primarily made up of students who have never played the sport before, but Gillcrist emphasized how sharing this lack of experience with the sport with other people made him feel more connected to the team.

“At first, I was super confused at practice, but later on, the team bonding has encouraged me to stay on the team,” Gillcrist said.

Lauren Fallon ‘23 joined women’s club rugby because she watched her brother play it as a kid. She thought rugby looked fun, and that led her to join the club team at Loyola.

“I found the rugby [team’s] Instagram and asked if I could come to a practice. This was also during the COVID semester, so I was looking for something fun to do on campus because there were not a lot of in person extracurriculars going on at Loyola at the time,” Fallon said.

Similarly, Mikaela Fallon ‘23 joined the women’s club basketball team because she has enjoyed playing the sport since middle school. She also wanted to continue playing at a high level in college. Fallon said that basketball “is a big part of my life and I didn’t want to stop playing basketball after graduating high school. Intramural basketball is a lot of fun but I joined club because it is more competitive and our team gets to travel to face other schools. It feels like a real team.”

Club sports at Loyola require a commitment to the team. Practices and games chew up time from students’ schedules, and athletes must learn to balance their schoolwork with their commitment to their sport. Annie Quinn ‘22 serves as captain of the Loyola women’s club lacrosse team, and she describes how the club lacrosse commitment is bearable. She said:

“It’s a decent commitment, but it doesn’t feel like too much. We typically practice 2-3 times a week and have games on some weekends. It’s similar to the level of commitment that a high school varsity team has.”

Quinn adds that as captain, she makes sure that club lacrosse athletes focus on academics just as much as lacrosse. She said, “One of our rules on our team is to always put academics first. I expect my players to be at practice, however, if they have a prior academic commitment or an exam to study for, I do not penalize them for missing practice.”

Women’s club rugby requires a considerable time commitment. Fallon said:

“Practices are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for two hours. Additionally, there are required team bonding events, as well as one service opportunity per semester and then of course the games themselves. We are a member of the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union so there is at least one to two hours of travel to games.”

There are many things to like about joining a Loyola club sports team.

“My favorite part of this team is the friendships that I’ve made because of it. We are such a close group of girls, and we have a lot of fun playing together. The team dynamic is incredible,” Quinn said.

One benefit of joining a club sports team is that one has the opportunity to meet new people and create new friendships. Lauren Fallon adds:

“My favorite thing about being on the rugby team is knowing that I’m a part of something that is bigger than myself. I have some of the best people in my life from rugby. This includes coaches, teammates and friends.”

Participating in club sports requires athletes to play in games. Some of these games may include crowds, and Eddie Ronayne ‘23 says that when he gets nervous during club baseball games, he feels it in many places. He said,

“It gets hard for me to breathe. I feel it in my chest. I don’t really feel loose. I feel almost the opposite, like tight.”

On the other hand, Ronayne detailed how sometimes he can feed off the crowd during a game.

“From external things such as fans, I don’t really feel nerves. I get more energy and juice from fans. I like having people there when I’m pitching,” Ronayne said.

Yogesh Ahuja ’22 had a chance to sit down with Will Luken, another Loyola senior who is a member of Loyola’s club tennis team. He described how tennis is a difficult sport to navigate. He said:

“It’s definitely a mental battle to play tennis, especially singles. It’s like having a war with yourself mentally and you have to make sure you’re in the right place mentally.”

Before playing games, club sports athletes must go through numerous practices during the week. Quinn explained how practices are an integral part of the club lacrosse team’s success.

“Good practices translate into great games. We rotate between various drills to help us work on stick skills, conditioning, and game-like situations. I always make sure to set a fun, yet focused tone for practice to ensure that we get good work in to help us succeed in games,” Quinn said.

Mikaela Fallon says that women’s club basketball practices are beneficial because the team prioritizes repetition by having its players play basketball every other day. She added,

“Practice really helps a lot during games. Basketball is a sport that you need to be consistent with every day. We practice fundamentals a lot and we scrimmage to practice game-like scenarios. Even though we only have practice twice a week, most of the girls on our team joined intramural basketball and have games once or twice a week which helps keep their game up.”

There is a sense of camaraderie around each club sports team at Loyola. In an interview obtained from Luca Marinzulich ’22 talking to Jake Jafari ’22 from Loyola’s club ice hockey team about bringing people together, Jafari said:

“We’re really excited to get back and play again. All the seniors are kind of coming together and helping each other out, getting things done, so it’s been good.”

From listening to these club sports athletes give insight into their respective club teams, one can take away that club sports at Loyola are fun and exciting. Mikaela Fallon adds:

“My favorite part about the team is the comradery. I have made lasting friendships on the Loyola Women’s Club Basketball team. I love going to practice and seeing my teammates. We do a lot of team bonding.”

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Exploring club sports at Loyola