Dec. 1, 2001
Palo Alto, CA - The Loyola Marymount University Lions men's water polo team was defeated by the defending NCAA men's water polo champions, UCLA, 7-5 in the championship semifinal at Stanford's Avery Aquatics Center Saturday afternoon.
The Lions were able to put the first score on the board with Stephen Lipinski's goal in the 4th minute of the first quarter. The Bruins, however, answered back twice with goals scored by their leading scorer Brett Ormsby and Jeff Pflueger. That ended the first quarter with UCLA leading the game at 2-1.
Lipinski's goal was the only Lions' score in the first half as the Bruins shut LMU out of the second and scored three more times to increase their lead to 5-1 at the halftime break. UCLA's second-quarter goals came from Albert Garcia, Matt Flesher, and Ormsby again.
Lion's head coach John Loughran took the Lions into the locker room to have a talk during the break, and came back to the pool with a new attitude to the game. LMU scored first in the second half as Kevin Witt drew the 4-meter penalty for the penalty shot. He scored to put the Lions within three in the sixth minute of the quarter. UCLA answered back with a goal from Pflueger again to take the 2-6 third-quarter lead.
Ormsby was successful on his next goal to start the final quarter of play for the Bruins to give UCLA the 2-7 lead. The Lions, however, weren't ready to quit fighting as Ke. Witt scored on the extra-man advantage to bring the Lions within four. Kris Barr followed suite as he nailed his shot right into the back of net past UCLA's goalie Brandon Brooks. The Lions continued their fourth-quarter run with Lipinski putting his second goal away to bring the score to 5-7. The Lions' run cam too late in the game, as time ran out.
"We came out a little slow and tight in the first half, but then we were able to give the third-ranked team in the country a run in the end," said Loughran of the effort.
Kyle Witt commented on the team's progression thus far saying "our progression as a team over the past four years has been phenomenal, and we are proud to be here competing."
The Lions will face the Umass Minutemen on Sunday for the 3rd-place game, as UCLA moves on to the Finals to face the top-ranked Stanford Cardinal in hopes of defending their two-time National Championship.
- GO LIONS -