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A Look Back at 2002-03

July 29, 2003

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The 2002-03 athletic and academic season for the Loyola Marymount University athletic department was yet another successful one as the Lions continue to "build champions." LMU student-athletes earned 64 all-conference selections, 128 national scholar-athletes, 38 academic all-conference selections, seven player of the year honors and seven All-America selections to highlight a year filled with memorable moments.

Men's soccer player Jeff Kovar capped a historic career at LMU as he was named the West Coast Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 2002-03. He becomes the third male from LMU to take home that honor in the last five years. Cross country's Michael Cortez won the honor in 2000-01 and men's soccer's Clemens Philippi won award in 1998-99.

Kovar capped off a stellar collegiate career by leading the Lions' to a program-best 15-4-2 record and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Kovar captained the squad for three seasons and was named to the All-WCC team in each of his four years as a Lion. He was also named to three-straight WCC All-Academic soccer teams. The Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., native was a Verizon Academic All-American for the 2002 season and was a national candidate for the Student-Athlete of the Year award. The Pre-Med major finished his career with a 3.72 grade point average and earned the prestigious Ignatian Award, the highest award given to an LMU senior.

The success of Kovar and the men's soccer team highlighted the Fall sports campaign as both the men's and women's soccer teams reached unparalleled success. The men's team defeated Cal State Northridge 1-0 on a goal by senior Arturo Torres in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It was the Lions' first win in postseason play as they advanced to the second round and fell to eventual national champion UCLA, who the Lions had defeated in the regular season.

Both Torres and senior Andres Murriagui finished the season with All-American honors. Murriagui earned first-team NSCAA/Adidas All-America honors with five goals and seven assists while playing in all 21 games last season. Torres was named the LMU Athlete of the Year and finished his amazing four-year career with 45 goals, 111 points and 21 assists, all all-time records at LMU. Torres was a second-team NSCAA/Adidas All-American.

The women's team reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. They finished the season 10-7-3 while playing one of the nation's toughest schedules. Junior Laura Trask took home Soccer Buzz Magazine First-team All-West Region honors as the Lions fell to UCLA in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament.

Also advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season was the women's water polo team. The Lions finished the season with the most wins in program history with a record of 24-9. LMU won its third straight Western Water Polo Association championship and advanced to the NCAA Women's Water Polo Championships. They would finish third in the country with a 5-2 win over Indiana in the consolation game of the championships. The women's water polo team added three All-Americans to the Lions' total this season. Junior Teresa Guidi was named All-American for the second consecutive year as she was named second-team AWPCA All-America. Guidi finished the season 31 goals and 60 steals as she was named the WWPA Player of the Year in 2003.

Joining her, as All-Americans were freshmen Katie Hicks and Rachel Riddell. The goalie Riddell finished the season with a goals against average of 4.10, the lowest in LMU history, and collected 321 saves. She earned third-team honors. Hicks led the Lions with 54 goals in 2003, earning honorable mention honors.

Also earning All-America honors was senior Kevin Witt from the men's water polo team. Witt was named third-team AWPCA All-American following the 2002 season, his third consecutive All-American honor. He finished his career second all-time in program history with 210 points. Witt joined Guidi as the WWPA Player of the Year in 2002.

Taking home player of the year honors for the Lions did not stop at water polo. Freshman golfer Chaz Inouye had one of the best rookie season's in program history with his third place finish in the WCC Championships. He finished with a one-under 215 to claim Freshman of the Year honors in the WCC. His average round of 71.6 at the WCCs was the lowest in program history. He was also named first-team All-WCC, making him just the third Lion to earn that honor.

Women's basketball junior Adrianne Slaughter led the WCC in blocks in 2002-03 with 66. She also added 27 steals to earn the WCC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Her block total was 25 more than anyone else in the WCC. It was her second straight year in leading the conference in blocks.

The softball team claimed the first-ever Pacific Coast Softball Conference title on the final days of play thanks to a three-game sweep of Saint Mary's on the final weekend of conference play. The Lions finished the season 33-20 overall and 14-5 in the PCSC. With the conference title came top honors in the PCSC. Junior Sami Strinz earned Player of the Year honors as she led the league with 16 doubles, a new LMU single-season record. She was also named 2003 NFCA Pacific All-Region second-team.

Freshman Brittany Bassett took home Freshman of the Year honors in the PCSC thanks to her .288 batting average.



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