LMU Takes Third in Commissioner's Cup
Lions make drastic jump in standings thanks to record-setting year.
June 2, 2004
Los Angeles, CA (June 1) - It was a year to remember for the Loyola Marymount University Department of Athletics. The result was its best finish ever in the West Coast Conference Commissioner's Cup, as the Lions took third place in the annual all-sports standings.
The Lions continue to move up the conference standings in each of its 17 varsity programs. Of the 17 programs, 12 participate in the WCC. The Commissioner's Cup is an all-sports award presented at the end of each academic year to the league's top performing school in conference play. A Men's and Women's All-Sports Award, recognizing athletic achievement within each gender, is also presented.
The recipient of the Commissioner's Cup is based on a point system reflecting the place finish of each team in conference play. The Men's and Women's All-Sports Awards are given to the schools that accumulate the most points within each particular gender. The institution with the highest point total after combining the men's and women's point totals will be honored with the Commissioner's Cup.
LMU finished with 61.5 points overall, just 2.5 points behind Santa Clara. The Lions finished second in the Men's All-Sports standings and third in the women's standings. The third place finish overall is three spots higher than the previous year.
It was a year filled with highlights as LMU finished the year with a combined record of 231-133-5, for a winning percentage of .635, the best in school history. The Lions did one better in conference play, posting a record of 97-44 against conference opponents for a winning percentage of .688, also a program best. The conference record includes records in men and women's water polo against Western Water Polo Association competition and softball against competition in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference.
During the 2003-04 season, three teams claimed conference titles while five earned bids to their respective NCAA tournament. Winning conference crowns and earning bids to the NCAAs were men and women's water polo and women's basketball. Also earning NCAA bids were women's volleyball and men's soccer.
To date, seven Lions have been named to All-America teams, including Kelli Nerison (Volleyball - AVCA Honorable Mention), Kevin Novak (Men's Soccer - SoccerTimes.com Honorable Mention), Michael Erush (Men's Soccer - Jewish Sports Review First-Team), Endre Rex-Kiss (Men's Water Polo - USWP Second-Team), Teresa Guidi (Women's Water Polo - AWPCA First-Team), Devon Wright (Women's Water Polo - AWPCA Second-Team) and Stacia Peterson (Women's Water Polo - AWPCA Honorable Mention).
On the conference level, coaches were named Coach of the Year in five sports, including John Loughran in men's and women's water polo, Julie Wilhoit in women's basketball, Patrick Kelly in women's crew and Frank Cruz in baseball. Five players joined the coaches in earning Player of the Year honors. Kate Murray earned WCC Player of the Year honors in women's basketball while Sherman Gay earned WCC Defensive Player of the Year honors in men's basketball. For the fourth year in a row a member of the women's water polo team earned WWPA Player of the Year honors as Devon Wright was named the 2004 MVP. Rounding out the list was Stephen Kahn as WCC Pitcher of the Year and Danielle Kaminaka as PCSC Player of the Year. Those Player of the Year winners were five of the 60 players to earn all-conference honors in 2003-04.
LMU finished the year with winning records in 15 of 17 sports as they earned 22 wins against teams ranked in the nation's top-15. Women's water polo, which defeated second-ranked Stanford in the NCAA semifinals to play for school's first NCAA National Championship, won 12 of those 22 against top-15 programs. In addition to women's water polo, men's water polo, men's soccer, volleyball and baseball earned wins against top-15 competition.
In addition to the playing field, the Lions excelled in the classroom and in the community as well. On the season 20 student-athletes earned Academic All-Conference honors, which honors fewer award winners than just all-conference teams. In addition, Kealani Kimball (volleyball) earned a prestigious NCAA postgraduate scholarship and 137 student-athletes were named National Scholar-Athletes.
Finally, in the latest graduation rates released by the NCAA, LMU posted a rate of 73 percent. According to the Los Angeles Times (Sept. 3), it is the second best graduation rate among schools in Southern California.
- GO LIONS -