Sept. 9, 2004
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Returning from the longest trip east in program history, the Loyola Marymount University men's water polo team will play their home opener at the Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center on Friday, Sept. 10 against Santa Clara at 3:00 p.m. The Lions started the season winning three of four games at the Navy Invitational last weekend.
The Lions, ranked 10th in the latest Collegiate Men's Water Polo top-20 Poll, will take on Santa Clara for the first time since the 2002 season in which the Lions defeated the Broncos 21-3. LMU has won the last five meetings in the series and holds a 12-6 edge all-time. The two programs first met in 1988, a 14-9 win by the Lions. The Broncos started the season ranked 19th in the country but fell out of the recent poll after falling to top-ranked Stanford in the season opener 16-4.
Around the Corner
Following the quick stop at home against the Broncos, the Lions will play in the second of three tournaments on the season at the SoCal Tournament on Sept. 18-19. The tournament will stay local, hosted by USC in Los Angeles. The annual tournament will once again the nation's best 16 teams as traditionally this tournament features 16 teams ranked in the top-20 nationally. Last year's SoCal was one of heartache for the Lions as they went 1-3, falling by one goal in all three set-backs, including two overtimes. After defeating 10th-ranked Pacific, the Lions fell in sudden-victory overtime to No. 3 Cal (7-6), then in overtime to No. 6 UC San Diego (6-5) and in the final seconds to fifth-ranked UCLA (5-4). The reason for the strong play was goalie Ian Elliott, who emerged as an All-WWPA type player making 55 saves in the four games.
The Lions trip to the Navy Invitational was the first time on the East Coast for the men's water polo program. Prior to arriving in Annapolis, MD, for the trip, the Lions left several days early to tour the nation's capital. The Lions spent the beginning of the trip east touring the national monuments and other national landmarks in Washington D.C. Take a look at the trip in the LMU photo gallery at LMULions.com.
Game 1 - LMU 10, Navy 9 - The Lions scored four goals in the final five minutes including the game winner with 2:07 remaining by senior Sean Wimer to open the 2004 season with a 10-9 win over 11th-ranked Navy. The Lions entered the fourth and final quarter down 8-6 and saw Navy extend its lead to three with a goal at the 5:42 mark by Andy Ratcliff. Sophomore transfer Brian McShane scored his second goal of the game to start the Lions' rally with 4:53 remaining in the game to cut the lead to 9-7. At the 3:19 mark Wimer would score his second of three goals to make the score 9-8. Less than 30 seconds later sophomore Ben Easton would tie the game at 9-9 to set-up Wimer's winner just 40 seconds later. The Lions would hold the one goal lead despite getting tagged with two ejections in the final two minutes. In the rally, LMU scored four goals in less than three minutes to start the season 1-0.
Game 2 - LMU 15, Iona 2 - This time there was no doubt. LMU scored the games first 11 goals to defeat Iona 15-2 in the Lions' second game at the Navy Invitational Saturday afternoon. A 3-0 lead after the first quarter was really all the Lions needed against Iona. Junior Scott Marshall scored just 42 seconds into the game and was followed by Endre Rex-Kiss and Cutberto Hernandez to claim that early lead. The Lions would score four more in the second and then four more to start the third to build an 11-0 lead before Iona would score at the 2:54 mark of the period. Rex-Kiss led the Lions with five goals, a personal best for the junior. Sophomore Matt Reynolds, Hernandez and freshman Sean Flood each added a pair in the run-away win.
Game 3 - St. Francis 13, LMU 11 - The eighth-ranked Loyola Marymount University men's water polo split its final two games of the 2004 Navy Invitational on Sunday, falling to 15th-ranked St. Francis College 13-11, while defeating George Washington in the final, 18-7. The final day at the Navy Open began early for the Lions, taking on St. Francis in the first game at 7:00 a.m. St. Francis jumped out early with a 4-2 first quarter lead and the Lions could never recover. Unlike the game against Navy in which the Lions overcame a three-goal deficit in the final five minutes, the Lions could cut the lead to just one in the final quarter. Rex-Kiss scored four more goals and Scott Marshall added three for the Lions. Also in double digits was Brian McShane with a pair goals.
Game 4 - LMU 18, George Washington 7 - In the final game of the tournament, the Lions jumped out to a 5-2 lead and never looked back. They would then score seven goals in the second to put the game out of reach. Ten different players would hit the back of the net in the finale, including Rex-Kiss with another four. McShane added three while Reynolds, Nick Oster and Wimer each added two.
Junior Endre Rex-Kiss entered the 2004 season as the Lions' main offensive returning threat from the WWPA title run in 2003. In the first four games of the season, he has lived up to the billing. Rex-Kiss scored 14 goals in four games at the Navy Invitational, including a personal best five goals against Iona. He leads the team in scoring and attempts with 24. He has scored four extra-man goals and also leads the team with five assists and is tied with Sean Wimer and Nick Oster with five steals. In his career, Rex-Kiss now sits 12th all-time in LMU history with 120 career goals. He is also eighth with 55 assists and 10th with 71 steals.
Sophomore transfer Brian McShane had an impressive debut as a Lion, scoring seven goals in just eight attempts to sit second behind Rex-Kiss in scoring. McShane scored a hat-trick in the win over George Washington and was near perfect with a shooting percentage of 87.5. In addition, he drew a team-high 11 kickouts in the four games, including four against St. Francis. McShane joined the Lions after playing a season at the Air Force Academy.
In seven previous seasons at the helm of the men's water program at Loyola Marymount University, Head Coach John Loughran has achieved unparalleled success. As he enters his eighth season overseeing the men and women's water polo teams, Loughran has built a program that continues to gain national exposure. And he added to that resume in 2003. Last season he led his men's water polo team to its second Western Water Polo Association championship in three years as they finished 17-14 overall and took third place in the NCAA Men's Water Polo Championships in December. In 2001, they won their first-ever WWPA championship, going 15-14 overall, and earning a bid to the NCAA Championship. That team also finished third after a win over UMass. Adding to his impressive resume, Loughran has won six WWPA Coach of the Year honors, four in women's water polo (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) and two in men's water polo (2001, 2003). He has posted an overall record of 116-95 (.550) for the men's team in six seasons, ranking him as the program's all-time winningest coach. He has also earned a record of 139-70 (.664) with the women's water polo program, leading them to four straight WWPA championships and four consecutive appearances to the NCAAs.
Lions At the NCAAs
The 2003 season was the second trip for LMU to the NCAA Championships. Both trips have been to Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center. The Lions are 2-2 overall in the tournament, falling to Stanford in the semifinals last season and defeating Navy in the third place game, 10-7. In 2001, LMU was once again given the number three seed in the tournament and faced number two seed UCLA in the semifinals. They would fall to the third-ranked Bruins 7-5. In the consolation game the Lions took third place with a 14-6 win over 16th-ranked UMass.
Sophomore Endre Rex-Kiss of the Loyola Marymount University men's water polo team was selected second-team All-American by the American Water Polo Coaches Association. Rex-Kiss finished the 2003 season with a team-high 61 goals and 31 assists. He was second on the team with 39 steals and finished the season with a 42.7 shooting percentage as he helped the Lions finish the season winning the Western Water Polo Association championship. The sophomore from Hungary finished the season on a torrid pace. Rex-Kiss, who was the male Student-Athlete of the Month at LMU in October and November, finished the season for the Lions with 21 goals in the final month of the season. He started the month with a hat-trick in a tough overtime loss to third-ranked UCLA and finished November with four games of three goals or more. He had four goals against Stanford in the NCAA semifinals and three to pace the Lions to a third place finish in the NCAA Men's Water Polo Championships. He added 19 steals and 11 assists in the final stretch of the season. He earned honorable-mention all-conference honors and his seven goals in the NCAA Championships earned him first-team all-tournament.
The WWPA Championship
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. 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 10 of their 14 games by one-goal or in overtime. All 10 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. Senior Sean Wimer would score the game winner with 4:44 left in the game, giving the Lions a 6-4 lead. Freshman goalie Ian Elliott made the final two minutes hold making several door-step saves to help left LMU to the win. He finished with nine saves.
2003 Postseason Honors
At the end of the WWPA Championships, the Lions had four players named WWPA All-Conference. Freshman goalie Ian Elliot was the difference in the final two minutes of the championship game against UC San Diego to help lift LMU to the win. He was named first-team All-WWPA following the contest. Also earning All-WWPA first-team honors was senior Ryan Chapatte, his second consecutive first-team honor. Earning second team honors was senior Tamas Szego, his second time earning All-WWPA honors, earning honorable mention honors in 2001. Earning honorable mention honors this season went to sophomore Endre Rex-Kiss which is a follow-up to his second-team honors in 2002. In addition, Head Coach John Loughran earned his second Coach of the Year honors.
- GO LIONS -