SEASON PREVIEW: Youth Coming Together
Men's water polo and its young roster are focusing on team chemistry and defense as they start 2013 season the pick to win WWPA.
Sep 6, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- In building a program that has claimed eight conference titles since 2001, the 13th-ranked LMU men's water polo team has done it through team chemistry and defense. Both things Head Coach John Loughran and the Lions have really focused on with a young roster heading into the 2013 season as the favorite to win the Western Water Polo Association.
The Lions were picked by the six WWPA coaches as a narrow favorite to win their ninth WWPA title. They edged out 11th-ranked Air Force and 12th-ranked UC San Diego by just two points in what will be a tight conference race.
Loughran, who enters his 17th season as head coach of the Lions, sat down with the LMU Sports Network in the annual season preview to talk about the upcoming season, which begins on Saturday at the UC San Diego Triton Invitational.
Check out the latest interview on the LMU Sports Network.
LMU will rely heavily on its youth with just two seniors in fifth-year goalie Gavyn Wild and first-team All-WWPA and honorable mention All-American selection John Mikuzis. Of the 25-man roster, 20 are underclassmen.
That list includes 13 freshman, seven of which are true freshman, and seven sophomores, including All-American and first-team All-WWPA selection Milutin Mitrovic, who set the LMU record for goals by a freshman with 72 a year ago.
LMU and the young roster will be thrown into the fire quickly this opening weekend. They open with Cal Lutheran at 8:30 am on Saturday and then face defending champion and top-ranked USC at 4:30 pm. Then on Sunday, the Lions take on No. 4 Cal at 9:30 am, followed by No. 6 Long Beach State at 3 pm.
The Lions will then return home to take on Pepperdine in the first Wells Fargo PCH Cup match-up of the season at the Burns Aquatics Center on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 12 noon.