Dec. 15, 2006
To close out the 2006 calendar year, Inside the Lions presented by South Bay BMW looks at the best moments in LMU athletics for 2006. There were many as ITL reviewed them all and then selected the ITL Top-10 Moments of the Year. Listen to which moment made the top-10 and which was No. 1. If you are a visual person, check-out the photo gallery featuring players and teams from those top-10 moments.
TOP-10 PHOTO GALLERY
ITL's Best of 2006
Below is a description of the top plays or moments, including the top-10. To find out what order, listen to ITL.
BASE - Win over No. 1 Again: For the second time in two years, an LMU team has defeated the top-ranked team in the nation. And for the second time in two seasons, it's been Lion baseball defeating No. 1 Cal State Fullerton on the road at Goodwin Field. The Lions earned the 8-4 win on April 19. As the Lions' starting pitcher, Brian Wilson (2-0) carried a shutout of the nation's top team through the sixth inning, a career-long outing for the freshman. He added two strikeouts before giving way to reliever Roberto Torres. Torres threw one inning, holding the Titans to one hit. Offensively for LMU, Dovel led the way with the 2-for-4, three RBI night. Mura added a 2-for-3, one RBI effort.
CC - Mickelson Crushes Field: For the second time in six seasons, a Lion was crowned West Coast Conference Champion at the WCC Cross Country Championships on Oct. 28. Junior Laura Mickelson was dominating for the Lions. She won the women's 6K title by well over a minute, crossing the line in 21:16. Mickelson joined LMU's Edit Pakay, who won the women's WCC title in 2001. Saturday's race was Mickelson's fourth title of 2006, as she also took the title at the Cal State Fullerton Invitational, the San Diego State Aztec Invitational, and the Cal Poly Invitational.
CC - Mickelson Runs to Nationals: The record-setting season for junior Laura Mickelson continued as she became the first Lion ever to qualify for the NCAA National Cross Country Championships when she finished seventh in the women's 6k at the 2006 NCAA West Regional on Nov. 11. Mickelson earned the national bid with a time of 21:19.59. She would represent the Lions at the 2006 NCAA Championships in Terre Haute on Nov. 20. She finish as one of the top-50 runners in the country, placing 50th at the NCAA Championships.
Commissioner's Cup: The Lions of Loyola Marymount University were officially named kings of the West Coast Conference as they claimed the fifth-annual Commissioner's Cup - an all-sports award presented at the end of each academic year to the league's top performing school in conference play. The Lions compete in 12 of the 13 sports sponsored by the WCC and in the 2005-06 year LMU went on to finish in the top half of the conference in nine of those 12, winning the conference title in women's rowing and men's golf.
CREW - Race to WCC Title: After a second place finish in the Varsity 4 and the Second Varsity 8 races at the 2006 WCC Championships on April 28, the women's crew team need a win in the Varsity 8 race to claim the programs first-ever conference championship. The Lions' Varsity 8 would win by more than seven seconds as they snapped Gonzaga's nine-year run as WCC Champs. Liz Stewart, Jill Austin, Jennifer Guess and Christina Duechle earned All-WCC honors while Patrick Kelly was named Coach of the Year.
GOLF - Locke's Final Day at WCCs: In a performance that re-wrote the West Coast Conference record book, freshman Brian Locke had people talking. The freshman scored birdies in 10 of his first 14 holes on the final round of the WCC Championships on April 18. He finished the day with a final round 64, breaking the Saddlecreek Golf Course record and equaling the WCC and LMU record. He carded a six-under 210 for the tournament as he became the first player in LMU history to win the individual conference title. The performance, along with top-five finishes from Josh Escobedo and Jason D'Amore led the Lions to their first ever conference championship.
GOLF - Regional Performance leads to Nationals: With the West Coast Conference title in their pocket, the Lions earned the automatic bid to the NCAA West Regional at the Tucson National Golf Club on May 18-20. The Lions made it a memorable trip, as they posted a second-round 281 in the program's first-ever trip to the NCAA West Regional. The round was the lowest in program history and would help the Lions to a sixth-place finish in the Regional, qualifying for the program's first-ever trip to the NCAA Men's Golf Championships. The Lions finished with a program-record 847, good for 17-under par. The Lions entered the West Regional as a 25-seed and were ranked 116th by Golfweek.com. Their sixth-place finish allowed them to advance, the highest seed ever to advance out of a regional since they began in 1989.
MBB - Run to WCC title game: Under first year Head Coach Rodney Tention, the LMU men's basketball team went through the learning curve as they went 3-11 in the non-conference. After falling to UNLV and San Diego State on the road to close out the 2005 calendar year, the Lions returned home to open conference play and hopefully start anew. Down by 17 to San Diego with 12 minutes to play, the Lions season made a turn for memorable moments. They erased the lead and senior Chris Ayer's shot at the buzzer lifted them to the 86-84 win on Jan. 7. The Lions would win eight of their next 10 to finish tied for second overall in the WCC while earning the No. 2 seed in the WCC tournament. At 8-6, it was the Lions best record in conference play since 1996 and 1992. They continued the impressive run with an 66-63 win over Saint Mary's in the WCC Semifinals and earn their first trip to the WCC championship in 17 years. The Lions would give No. 4 Gonzaga all they could handle on their home floor, falling by a single point as a lay-up attempt at the buzzer was off the mark.
MBB - Worthy's Buzzer Beaters: With his play in the WCC Championship game, senior Brandon Worthy entered the 2006-07 season as a Player of the Year candidate and an All-America candidate. In the first month of the season, he proved why. With the Lions once again facing a 15-point deficit with 12 minutes to play against New Mexico State Nov. 17 at Gersten Pavilion, Worthy scored 28 points to lead the Lions back to where they trailed by just one with 10 seconds to play. With less than a second on the clock, Worthy launched an off balanced three that hit nothing but net to give the Lions the lead with 0.9 on the clock. His block on defense clinched it as his shot went on to earn ESPN Sports Center Play of the Day honors. He wasn't done, as the Lions were playing Pacific in the semifinals of the Great Alaska Shootout on Nov. 24, just one week later. Down by more than 15 again in the second half, Worthy scored a career-equalling 32 points for the Lions. Down by a pair with 20 seconds to play, he stole the ball and drove for a lay-up to send the game to the first overtime. Then in the first overtime, the Lions trailed by three. With three players in his face, Worthy launched a three from the deep corner and hit nothing but net again at the buzzer to send it to the second overtime. He scored the first four points of the second overtime as the Lions won it by three.
MSOC - Win Over No. 2 UConn: The LMU men's soccer team shocked #2 Connecticut in front of 5,489 at Morrone Stadium Aug. 26, handing the Huskies a 1-0 defeat to start the season. It marks the fifth straight season that LMU (1-0) has defeated a top-10 opponent, and the first time since October 2004 that the Huskies (0-1) have lost at home. Trini Gomez scored the game winner in the 34th minute and Rob Flores made six saves to record his first shutout of the season. The contest marks LMU's furthest road game in school history and the Lions will fondly remember their trip to Storrs. At 34:00, Gomez took a cross along the face of the goal from senior Bobby Burling and buried it into the lower right corner of the goal past Husky goalkeeper Matt Sangeloty to put LMU up 1-0. The Huskies, ranked #2 in the NSCAA/adidas preseason poll, outshot LMU 7-5 in the opening period, including four shots on goal to LMU's two. But Flores saved all four shots on goal to maintain the Lion lead.
TRACK - Regionals to Nationals: In just the first season of track at LMU, the Lions were represented at the 2006 NCAA Championships. Laura Mickelson ran in the preliminary of the 5000m on Wednesday, June 7. Mickelson's time of 16:43.61 placed her among the nation's top-25. Based on the preliminary, Mickelson was 22nd overall. In the second heat, she finished 10th, ahead of runners from Notre Dame, Washington State, UC Santa Barbara, Arkansas, and Oral Roberts. The NCAA Championship appearance capped a storied season for the LMU cross country and track programs.
WBB - Buzzer Beater Win over Waves: Bianca Ziemann's jumper with no time on the clock gave the Lions a 50-48 win over Pepperdine in West Coast Conference women's basketball action this evening in Firestone Fieldhouse in front of a television audience. Ashlee Dunlap broke her career high with 23 points as the Lions pulled out the victory to improve to 6-1 in WCC action and remain in first place in the conference standings.
WSOC - Slovek Shutout of Champs: LMU goalkeeper Joslyn Slovek made 12 saves to lead the #22 Lions to a 0-0 tie against #5 Portland on Senior Day at Sullivan Field on Nov. 4. The tie marks the first time that LMU has earned a point against Portland, as the Lions wrap up the regular season with a 10-2-6 record overall. Slovek denied the WCC's top offense and the defending national champions, as the Pilots averaged almost three goals per game entering today's contest. It was just the second time this season that Portland has been shutout. Slovek finished conference play with five shutouts in seven games.
WTEN - Run to WCC title match: Loyola Marymount played for its second West Coast Conference title in five years on Apr. 22 when the 67th-ranked Lions battled 13th-ranked Pepperdine in the WCC Finals. LMU earned its way to the finals with a 4-2 win over 56th-ranked San Diego Saturday. The 67th-ranked Lions avenged a regular season loss to San Diego with a 4-2 thriller in the WCC Semifinals Saturday.
- GO LIONS -