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Taking It To The Next Level

July 12, 2004

Los Angeles, CA (July 12) - The summer has become a time to play for former athletes from Loyola Marymount University, and this Olympic summer of 2004 will be no different as former stars from LMU have made a name for themselves among the best in their sport.

At least 21 former or current LMU student-athletes are playing in the professional ranks or top amateur competition this summer, including a pair of Lions in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Three-time All-American Reid Priddy from the men's volleyball team will lead team USA for a medal bid while current student-athlete Rachel Riddell of the women's water polo team will play for Team Canada.

Also playing at the next level this summer is Arturo Torres (2004 graduate - men's soccer - Los Angeles Galaxy), Michael Erush (2004 - men's soccer - Colorado Rapids) and Sarah Noriega (1996 - women's volleyball - US National Team).

The LMU baseball team leads all sports with players moving onto the next level as 16 are currently playing professionally, both in the minors and in the majors. Playing this summer are Billy Lockin (Arizona), Jon Higashi (Texas), Will Quaglieri (Mets), Kevin Jensen (Giants), Vince Cordova (Mets), Josh Muecke (Houston), Josh Whitesell (Montreal), C. J. Wilson (Texas), Mike Shultz (Arizona), Jason Aspito (Anaheim), Scott Walter (Kansas City), Billy Traber (Cleveland), Chris Donnels (Colorado), Anthony Angel (Independent), Benny Craig (Independent), Chris Zacuto (Independent).

Priddy leads a talented group of former players this summer, as he has become one of Team USA's top players. He joined the national team in 2000 and was an alternate for the 2000 Olympic Games. This year he helped Team USA qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, by winning the NORCECA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Caguas, Puerto Rico on Jan. 10. The team posted a perfect record of 6-0 en route to the gold medal, which included a come-from-behind, 3-2 win over Cuba in the championship match. In that match Priddy scored a match-high 16 points on 13 kills and three blocks.

Priddy has emerged as one of the starting outside hitters on the left side and served as the team captain at the Pan American Games in 2003. He has also played professionally for the Vienna Hotvolleys in Austria.

In 2003 as a true freshman, Riddell became one of the best goalies in collegiate water polo as she became the first freshman in LMU women's water polo to earn All-American honors. Riddell led the team to 24 wins, then a program best, and set the program record with a goals against average of 4.22 per game.

Riddell did not play with the Lions in 2004 as she spent the year training with Team Canada as they qualified for the 2004 Olympics. The Canadians are currently ranked fourth in the world and were fifth at the 2000 Olympics, the first time women's water polo was included on the official Games' program. Canada is in a tough division with the world champion Americans, number-three Russia and surging Hungary, which lost to the U.S., in the World League final last month in a shootout. Riddell will return to LMU this fall.

Torres, a former All-American, was the first player from the men's soccer program to play professionally as he enters his second year in the MLS. He currently has one assist for the Galaxy as a midfielder and finished his LMU career as the all-time leading scorer in the 2002 season. He officially earned his degree this May. Joining him in the professional ranks this summer was former teammate Michael Erush, who signed a developmental contract with the Colorado Rapids this spring. Erush, who finished his degree in three-and-a-half years, was an All-Conference selection a year ago.

Noriega has been one of the Lion staples in national team play, joining the women's national team in 1998. She will serve as an alternate on this year's Olympic team after competing in the 2000 Games in Australia. She serves as an alternate after suffering a shoulder injury.

In 2003 she has helped the United States earn a bronze medal at the 2003 World Cup and a berth in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. She played in 96 of a possible 163 sets on the year and compiled 113 kills, 21 blocks and eight service aces for 142 total points (1.48 points per set). She scored a career-high 27 points in a 3-1 win over Brazil in the semifinals of the Pan American Cup in Mexico.

Follow the Lions professional careers all summer on the web at



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