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 third season in Rogers Park in 2020. 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.
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.
Under Berkley’s tutelage, Loyola has recorded its first consecutive winning seasons since doing so eight straight years, from 1997 through 2004. Her 37 victories are 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.
Berkley recruited the 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.
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, 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 will begin her third season as assistant women’s volleyball coach at Loyola University Chicago in 2020 and has helped the Ramblers to their first back-to-back winning campaigns in over a decade.
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 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.
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 10thon 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.