Nov. 22, 2003
Redlands, CA (Nov. 22) -- In a season that saw the Loyola Marymount University men's water polo team drop by ways of the heartbreaker one too many times, the end of the Western Water Polo Championships will serve as a quick eraser as the Lions won when it mattered most.
The eighth-ranked Lions claimed a 6-5 win over seventh-ranked UC San Diego in the championship game of the Western Water Polo Championships on Friday night at Redlands University. With the win, the Lions win their second conference championship in the last three years and will make a trip to the 2003 NCAA Men's Water Polo Championships at Stanford University on Dec. 6-7.
It was a fitting reversal of fortunes for the Lions. In the regular season the Lions were on the wrong end of heartbreakers all season, losing 11 of their 13 games by one-goal or in overtime. All 11 of those games came against teams ranked in the top-20 nationally, including two games at the hands of the Tritons. When it mattered most, the Lions answered the call.
The Lions jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first quarter on a goal by senior Kris Barr at the 4:12 mark and then a senior Scott Smith talley with 3:19 on the clock. Barr, who finished the game with three goals to lead all scorers, scored his first on an extra-man attack.
The Tritons would cut the lead in half on a goal by Chris Finegold at the 5:31 mark of the second quarter. Barr would get the goal right back with 2:56 remaining in the half. Brandon Borso would get the Tritons within one goal with 20 seconds left in the half to send the game into half with the score 3-2.
LMU, who never trailed in the game, would take a two-goal lead once again on Barr's third talley with 4:44 left in the third frame. Less than 20 seconds later Finegold answered on an extra-man attack. Then just 23 seconds into the fourth quarter the Tritons would finally tie the game on Borso's second talley.
LMU would then get two unanswered goals that would make the difference. Endre Rex-Kiss
would knock home a score at the 5:43 mark to make the score 5-4 in favor of the Lions. Junior Sean Wimer
would then get what would be the game winner with 4:44 left in the game. Chris Eicholz would cut the lead to one at 6-5 with 2:01 remaining in the game.
Freshmam goalie Ian Elliot made the final two minutes hold making several door-step saves to help left LMU to the win. He fnished with nine saves and was named first-team All-WWPA following the contest.
Also earning All-WWPA first-team honors was senior Ryan Chapatte. Earning second team honors was senior Tamas Szego and honorable mention went to Rex-Kiss. Head Coach John Loughran earned his second Coach of the Year honors.
LMU - 2 - 1 - 1 - 2 -- 6
UCSD - 0 - 2 - 1 - 2 -- 5
LMU - Kris Barr 3, Scott Smith, Sean Wimer, Endre Rex-Kiss
UCSD - Chris Finegold 2, Brandon Borso 2, Chris Eicholz
LMU - Ian Elliot 9
UCSD - Colin McElroy 5
- GO LIONS -