Loyola Chicago is back, and Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt is loving every minute of it.
The Ramblers’ iconic 101-year-old team chaplain never thought she’d see another dominant postseason run after their 2018 trip to the Final Four. Yet now, after the team’s strong outing against top-seeded Illinois to reach the Sweet 16, Sister Jean knows a trip like that is possible — and she’s already got her celebration planned.
"I'll be jumping around, literally, not figuratively, I'll be jumping around as much as they are," Sister Jean said, via ESPN. "It will just be a great thrill if they get to the Final Four again, or even go up a couple steps more. I will hardly believe that it happened. Last time, I thought to myself, 'I will never see anything like this again.'"
‘Our team was just like little boys with ice cream cones’
The Ramblers, after winning the MVC tournament, reached the Sweet 16 after double-digit wins over Georgia Tech and top-seeded Illinois — something that left many stunned.
Though Sister Jean had to fight her way to be allowed into the games due to the COVID-19 pandemic — she is vaccinated, but missed their entire regular season — she said seeing the players’ reactions after beating Illinois was incredible.
"I told someone today that our team was just like little boys with ice cream cones jumping up and down," Sister Jean said, via ESPN. "They were so excited, and that's the excitement that they've had all through here."
The team this season has proved itself as one of the best left in the field, and has some calling them legitimate title contenders.
In order to make it to the Final Four, the Ramblers have to get past Oregon State — which is in the midst of its own miraculous run, having started out the season being voted to finish last in the Pac-12 — and either Syracuse or Houston.
Sister Jean, of course, has faith that her team can pull it off again.
“If we got this, it would be perfect,” she said, via ESPN. “They’re working toward it, and I believe they can still do it. One never knows what’s going to happen in a basketball game on the floor that night.”
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