Womens Volleyball Staff
HEad Coach : Amanda Berkley
Amanda Berkley, a native of Racine, Wisconsin, was named head women’s volleyball coach at Loyola University Chicago on December 14, 2017 and will be entering her fourth season in Rogers Park in 2021. Prior to her arrival in Chicago, Berkley guided the University of Southern Mississippi to 104 total victories in five seasons, including four straight 20-win campaigns.
Navigating her team through uncharted waters in 2020-21, Berkley captained a squad that featured just two upperclassmen to an 11-9 record and had them playing their best volleyball of the season. Despite not having the services of 2019 Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year Addie Barnes, who was sidelined with an injury, Berkley guided the Ramblers to the MVC Championship title match as well as two victories over perennial Valley power Northern Iowa, the program’s first-ever victories versus the Panthers.
Berkley has now recruited and produced four MVC All-Freshman Team selections in the last two seasons, with outside hitter Emily Banitt and libero Grace Hinchman earning the accolade in 2020-21. Off the court, the team captured the American Volleyball Coaches Association Community Voting Award. In her three seasons in Rogers Park, Berkley has guided Loyola to three straight winning campaigns, marking the first time that has happened since 1997 through 2004, when the Ramblers finished above .500 in eight consecutive seasons.
In 2019, Berkley steered the Ramblers to one of their most successful seasons in recent memory, as they established a single-season program record for conference wins, regardless of league affiliation, by going 14-4 in Missouri Valley Conference action, en route to a second-place finish, the program’s best since joining the league. Loyola, which was picked fifth in the league’s preseason poll, closed out the season with 21 wins, its most since 2004.
Her 37 victories were the most by a head coach in his/her first two seasons on the Ramblers’ bench since Liz Tortorello-Nelson (38) in 1997 and 1998 and she is the first Loyola head coach to produce three straight winning seasons to open her tenure in Rogers Park since Tortorello-Nelson (1997 through 2004).
Berkley recruited and developed the 2019 MVC Freshman of the Year, Addie Barnes, who became the first Rambler ever to receive that honor. In addition, Barnes and fellow rookie Taylor Venuto garnered First Team All-MVC and MVC All-Freshman Team recognition, while Heather Kocken collected Second Team All-MVC designation. Loyola notched its first win over local rival Northwestern since 2008 when it outlasted the Wildcats in five sets.
Off the court, Maddy Moser became the first Loyola volleyball player ever to be hailed as the MVC Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and the libero also closed out her illustrious tenure in Maroon and Gold ranked third on the school’s career digs list with 1,706 digs.
In her first year at the helm of the Loyola program, Berkley engineered one of the biggest turnarounds in NCAA Division I play, piloting the Ramblers to 16 wins to become the first Loyola women’s volleyball coach to record a winning record in his/her first season since 2004. Berkley’s positive influence helped the Ramblers to an eight-match winning streak early in the year and they closed out the year with a winning record for the first time since 2015, while also being one of only 18 NCAA Division I programs to boast at least a 10-game improvement in the win column from 2017.
Senior Gabi Maciagowski capped an sparkling career ranked 10thon Loyola’s all-time chart with 1,104 kills. Loyola sat atop the Missouri Valley Conference in blocks with 2.40 per set, its most in a single season since 2007, and off the court, seniors Alex Nunez and Morgan Gresham were named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete Team.
“We are thrilled to add Amanda to the Loyola family,” Loyola Director of Athletics Steve Watson said at the time of Berkley’s hiring. “She is a rising star in the profession and in a short time turned the Southern Miss program into a championship contender in Conference USA. A proven winner, Amanda is the perfect fit to deliver a first-class experience to our student-athletes, while leading our program in one of the top volleyball leagues in the nation.”
In five seasons at Southern Miss, Berkley piloted the program to a 104-59 (.638) overall mark and a 46-29 ledger (.613) in Conference USA matches. Berkley was named American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Southwest Region Coach of the Year in 2016 and also earned the AVCA Thirty Under 30 Award in 2013.
During the 2017 season, the Golden Eagles amassed a 20-12 overall record and a 9-5 mark in C-USA. Berkley mentored five All-Conference USA players, the most in school history, in 2016 as the Golden Eagles earned the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament, the program’s highest seed since 2009. She also led Southern Miss to a 24-win season in 2015, for the program’s most victories since 2009.
Under Berkley’s tutelage, 12 players earned First or Second Team All-Conference USA accolades, and she developed a pair of C-USA Libero of the Year award winners, as well as the 2016 C-USA Freshman of the Year.
She took over the direction of the Southern Miss program on an interim basis in 2013 and quickly turned around a program that won eight matches the previous season, winning 17 contests for a nine-match improvement.
Prior to assuming the reins at Southern Miss, Berkley spent three seasons as the top assistant coach for the Golden Eagles. She also spent two seasons as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Berkley, whose sister, Susie, is the head women’s volleyball coach at Milwaukee, and niece, Katie Adams, is an assistant coach at Indiana State, began her collegiate playing career as a walk-on at the University of Wisconsin before earning a scholarship. As a defensive specialist for the Badger program, she helped UW to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight finish in 2004 and 2005, and finished third on the team in service aces in 2006 and 2007.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology/physical education from the University of Wisconsin and earned a master’s degree in professional development with an emphasis in health, physical education and coaching from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Berkley married her husband, Melvin Tart, in July 2017.
Assistant Coach : Sondra Parys
Sondra Parys has been a part of the revitalization of the Loyola University Chicago women’s volleyball program, and will begin her fourth season as an assistant coach in 2021. Parys has helped lead the Ramblers to three consecutive winning seasons, the first time the program has posted a winning record in three straight years since doing so in eight consecutive campaigns from 1997 through 2004.
The 2020-2021 season was unlike any other as teams battled through the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite coping with multiple injuries, the youthful Ramblers, who had just two upperclassmen on the roster, played their best volleyball at season’s end and advanced all the way to the Missouri Valley Conference Championship title match, finishing the year with an 11-9 record. A pair of freshmen were impact players in their inaugural season of collegiate volleyball, with outside hitter Emily Banitt and libero Grace Hinchman earning MVC All-Freshman Team recognition, giving Loyola four selections to that squad over the last two seasons. Loyola also picked up its first-ever victories against perennial Valley power, Northern Iowa, splitting the regular-season series before disposing of the Panthers in the MVC Championship semifinal round.
In 2019, the Ramblers put together one of their most successful seasons in over a decade, as they established a single-season program record for conference wins, regardless of league affiliation, by going 14-4 in MVC action, en route to a second-place finish, the program’s best since joining the league. Loyola, which was picked fifth in the league’s preseason poll, closed out the season with 21 wins, its most since 2004.
Outside hitter Addie Barnes was tabbed MVC Freshman of the Year, becoming the first Rambler ever to receive that honor. In addition, Barnes and fellow rookie Taylor Venuto garnered First Team All-MVC and MVC All-Freshman Team recognition, while Heather Kocken collected Second Team All-MVC designation. Loyola notched its first win over local rival Northwestern since 2008 when it outlasted the Wildcats in five sets.
Off the court, Maddy Moser became the first Loyola volleyball player ever to be hailed as the MVC Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and the libero also closed out her illustrious tenure in Maroon and Gold ranked third on the school’s career digs list with 1,706 digs. As a team, Loyola earned a American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award and also picked up the AVCA Community Voting Award.
During the 2018 campaign, Parys helped the Ramblers post a winning record for the first time since 2015, while also being one of only 18 NCAA Division I programs to boast at least a 10-game improvement in the win column from 2017. In addition, Loyola raced out of the gate, winning eight of its first 11 matches, winning two in-season tournament championships. Senior Gabi Maciagowski capped an impressive career by notching her 1,000th career kill and ended her time in a Rambler uniform ranked 10th on Loyola’s all-time chart with 1,104 stops. Loyola led the Missouri Valley Conference in blocks with 2.40 per set, the most in a single season since 2007, and thanks to their work in the classroom, seniors Alex Nunez and Morgan Gresham were named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete Team.
Parys arrived in Rogers Park after spending two seasons as an assistant coach at Queens University of Charlotte. While at Queens, she helped the Royals to back-to-back NCAA appearances, including a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2016, as well as the program’s first South Atlantic Conference Championship title. Prior to her stint at Queens, she served two years as an assistant coach at The Citadel, from 2014-15.
“Sondra brings some terrific experience from Queens University and has been a great asset on the recruiting trail and on the court with our player development,” Loyola head coach Amanda Berkley said. “Sondra is competitive, a hard worker, and a great person who is a perfect fit for our program and here at Loyola.”
In addition to her collegiate coaching experience, Parys also has served as a head coach at both Lake Norman and Charleston Juniors Volleyball Club. She also served as the head coach at Maumee High School in Maumee, Ohio.
Parys was a recipient of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Thirty Under 30 Award in 2019, earning recognition as one of 11 NCAA Division I women’s volleyball coaches to be hailed as one of the up-and-coming stars in the profession.
A four-year letterwinner at the University of Toledo, the Crystal Lake, Illinois native led the Rockets in kills as a junior in 2011 and was named to the Mid-American Conference All-Freshman Team in 2009.