Finally Home For Another Ranked Foe
Men's water polo finally returns home for the first time in a month as they play their 12th straight ranked opponent in No. 7 Long Beach State.
Oct. 3, 2007
The 10th-ranked Loyola Marymount men's water polo team has played just one home game this season, and it came a month ago as the Lions finally return to the Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center to face No. 7 Long Beach State on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 3 p.m. The game against the ranked 49ers will be the Lions' 12th straight game against a team in the nation's top-20.
INSIDE THE LIONS
LMU has started the season 5-8 with each of the setbacks coming against teams currently ranked in the nation's top-10 by an average of just three goals a game. Leading the way for the Lions is goalie Andy Stevens, who was named the Western Water Polo Association Player of the Week for Oct. 3. He made 36 saves in three games against teams ranked in the nation's top-20. Stevens had a career-best 16 in the Lions' 9-4 win on the road at #12 UC San Diego. He added 10 against No. 5 Pepperdine and another 10 against No. 8 UC Santa Barbara. On the season, Stevens leads the WWPA and the nation with 11.6 saves per game and is ranked fifth in the nation with 133 saves. Offensively, the Lions are led by freshman Tibor Forai. He scored a career-best four in the second win over Air Force at the NorCal Open on Sept. 15 and matched that with four against No. 5 Pepperdine last weekend. He moved his team-leading total to 21 on the season. His goal total is ranked 42nd nationally as the top-50 are recognized. Junior Julien Lormant is second on the squad with 13 goals while three players - Tim Heafner, Mark Milovic and Tim Hummel - are ranked third with 10.
The Lions will see a brief break in their brutal road trip that kept them away from the Burns Aquatics Center for nearly a month. LMU, who has won 71 percent at the six-year old Burns Aquatics Center, end an eight-game road stretch - all against nationally ranked opponents - with the home game against the 49ers. LMU will play five more away from Burns when they travel to Irvine for the SoCal Invitational Oct. 13-14 and then end the road swing with UC Irvine on Oct. 18. When the Lions finally return home on Oct. 20, they will have played 17 of their first 19 games on the road.
The Lions play just the one game this week as they host seventh-ranked Long Beach State on Thursday. This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season and marks the X opponent for the Lions ranked in the top-10. The Lions have played No. 1 USC, No. 4 UCLA, No. 5 Pepperdine (twice), No. 8 UC Santa Barbara (twice) and No. 9 UC Davis (twice). Long Beach enters the game at 7-4 and begin a four-game week against the Lions. The 49ers four setbacks have been twice to No. 1 USC (9-8, 10-5) and twice to No. 5 UC Irvine (12-9, 7-6). Long Beach State leads the series 11-4 and won last season's meeting, 9-7, in Long Beach. LMU, however, has won three of the last five in the series.
Senior Ian Elliott and Brian McShane of the Loyola Marymount men's water polo team ended their careers at LMU with high honors as the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) named them to the 2006 All-American teams. Elliott earns third team honors while McShane took home honorable mention honors. It is a repeat appearance for both Elliott and McShane as they earned honorable mention All-American honors a year ago. Elliott and McShane were a part of a combined five Western Water Polo Association championships and five trips to the NCAA tournament in their careers at LMU. Elliott led the NCAA in saves with 323, better than 10.8 per game. He earned his career high with 17 saves in a single game three times on the year and allowed just 7.7 goals per game in 2006. He also led the team in steals with 46 and added 11 assists. McShane was one of the top two-meter players in the country and led the Lions with 83 kickouts drawn, the second time in three seasons he was over 80. He led the team in goals with 43, giving him 110 in his career. That mark is ranked 15th all-time at LMU.
LMU's Ian Elliott and Brain McShane were named First-Team All-WWPA while Matt Reynolds earned second-team honors and Cutberto Hernandez earned honorable mention honors. For Elliott, it was his fourth straight first-team All-WWPA honor, making him one of just five student-athletes in LMU history to achieve the honor. Elliott was one of the nation's leaders in saves with 323. He finishes his career with 1,146 saves, all-time best in LMU history.
The 2007 Western Water Polo Association announced the 2006 Men's Water Polo and 2007 Women's Water Polo All-Academic Teams. The team consists of members who were one of the top-10 student-athletes on the respective institutions' team, carried a 3.0 cumulative GPA (on a 4.0 scale), classified a fulltime student who has completed a minimum of one semester or two quarters at his institution. There were eight members of the Loyola Marymount men's and women's water polo teams on this year's All-Academic squad. On the men's side, junior Shaun Flood, sophomore Tim Heafner and Julien Lormant were named to the Men's All-Academic team. All three will be the leaders of the Lions' squad heading into the 2007 season. Heafner is a Business Administration major with a 3.68 GPA while Flood and Lormant each have 3.03 GPAs. Flood is a Biology major with Lormant is the Television Production program.
Loyola Marymount's John Prunckle and Tim Heafner were named by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches Association to the 2006 All-American Academic Team. The ACWPC honors student-athletes who demonstrated excellence in the classroom as well as in the pool. In his second full season of water polo at LMU, Heafner finished the 2006 season playing in every game after playing in just nine the year before as a true freshman. He became a clutch player for the Lions, scoring 11 goals as one of the first players of the bench. He added 18 steals, 11 assists and 17 kickouts drawn. Heafner is a Business Administration major with a 3.68 grade points average and earned Superior Academic All-America honors by the AWPCA. Prunckle earned Excellent honors with a 3.33 GPA as a Mechanical Engineering major. He finished his third season with the Lions, holding an 8.0 goals against average as a goalie.
In the past 11 years, Head Coach John Loughran has been going about his business in developing the Loyola Marymount water polo programs (both the men and women) into one of the nation's best. Loughran has won 10 conference titles in his time at LMU, taking six in seven years for the women's team and four in the last six years for the men. He also earned WWPA Coach of the Year honors in 2005, his seventh coach of the year honor at LMU (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 for women; 2001, 2003, 2005 for men). He has posted an overall record of 176-142 (.553) for the men's team in 10-plus seasons, ranking him as the program's all-time winningest coach. He has also earned a record of 223-88 (.717) with the women's water polo program.
Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center
Since it opened in the fall of 2000 as the home of LMU aquatics, the Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center has seen 10 championships and the two water polo teams combine for 109 wins in just six short seasons. The Lions have thrived in the state-of-the-art facility, earning a record of 109-30 in six seasons. The men's team went 7-3 in 2005 and 1006, and have compiled a record of 55-24 (.701) during its stay at the Center.
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