Oct. 14, 2002
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After playing 15 of their first 18 games on the road, the seventh-ranked Loyola Marymount University men's water polo team will return to Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center for a 10-game homestand. The Lions, who have played just two non-ranked opponents all season, will start the homestand against No. 4 UC Irvine on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 3 p.m. They will host a doubleheader on Saturday, Oct. 19 against Whittier at 11:00 a.m. and then Pomona at 1 p.m.
Loyola Marymount will open the week against fourth-ranked UC Irvine at 3 p.m. on Oct. 17. The Anteaters enter the game at 9-4 as they defeated UC Santa Barbara 11-7 in their only match last week. The Lions will then host one of two doubleheaders on the season, taking on Whittier at 11 a.m. and then Pomona at 1 p.m. on Oct. 19. Whittier improved to 6-13 on the season with a 3-1 mark at the Claremont Convergence tournament this past weekend. Pomona also participated in the Claremont tournament, going 0-4 to fall to 2-16 on the year. UC Irvine is 6-0 all-time against LMU. The Lions hold a 16-4 record against Pomona and a 19-3 mark against Whittier.
UCIrvine has challenged for the number one ranking throughout the 2002 season, playing in the championship game of the SoCal Tournament in September, falling to top-ranked Stanford 10-6. Their entire schedule has been against the top-20 with two loses to Stanford and single loses to UCLA and USC. The schedule will finally get a little easier for the Lions when they take on Pomona and Whittier in a doubleheader. Whittier is coming off wins against Michigan (9-7), Santa Clara (8-2), and Chapman (10-4). Their only loss last week was to UC Santa Cruz 11-6. Pomona has struggled on the year, earning just two wins on the season. Last week at the Claremont Tournament they fell to Bucknell (15-7), Cal Baptist (19-10), Santa Clara (12-6) and Iona (15-6).
After a solid showing at the NorCal Tournament, the Lions went 1-2 the following week. They defeated 18th-ranked BYU-Hawaii 10-8 at home before losing to 11th-ranked UC San Diego 6-3 and second-ranked UCLA 9-3 on the road. Trailing 8-7 to start the fourth quarter against BYU-Hawaii, senior Kevin Witt stole the ball from the Seasiders and broke away for an odd-man rush. Junior Ryan Chapatte would take advantage and tally his second goal of the game to tie the score at 8-8. The Lions would score two more, including Witt's game winner with 4:08 remaining to earn the win. In a key Western Water Polo Association match-up against UC San Diego, the Lions couldn't get their offense going as they fell for the second time this year to the Tritons on the road. The Lions, who scored the first goal of the game, saw the Tritons score five unanswered. LMU got a goal apiece from freshman Endre Rex-Kiss, senior Eric Lefebvre and senior Tim Roscke. Against UCLA, both teams got off to a slow start with UCLA's Brett Ormsby scoring the only goal of the first period. Lions' goalkeeper, senior Kevin Paulsen, had a large part in the tight first period, knocking a way a penalty shot by Ormsby with 1:47 left in the first period. He finished with nine saves on the day. However, the Bruins scored four unanswered goals to take a 7-1 lead in the second half. The Lions added two goals in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough to overcome the six-goal deficit. Witt and Eric Lefebvre scored in the fourth frame.
Head Coach John Loughran, who has won three straight coach of the year honors in the WWPA (two women, one men), returned 13 players from last year's squad, including All-Americans Kevin Paulsen and Kevin Witt. Witt and Paulsen lead a very talented returning core of players for the Lions. Witt has earned two straight second-team All-America honors and led all returning players last year in goals scored with 42. Paulsen was named WWPA Player of the Year after he allowed just 13 goals in the Lions three wins in the WWPA Championships to claim their first conference crown. Both continue to add to their success with solid campaigns in 2002. Paulsen has a goals against average of just over eight, recording a season-high 14 saves against Pacific at the SoCal Tournament. Paulsen leads the team in steals with 22. Witt, who did not play in the first four games, has come on strong since his return, scoring seven goals in the NorCal Tournament, including four in the win over Long Beach State, to give him 19 goals in 14 games.
Freshman Endre Rex-Kiss is currently having a great start to his collegiate career. The two-meter performer finished the first weekend at the UC San Diego Triton Invitational with five goals, including an impressive four-goal performance in the Lions' 21-3 win over Santa Clara. He hasn't slowed down since. He scored three consecutive goals in the fourth period against the Broncos. He added three more the following week at USC, scoring a goal against USC, UCSB and Navy. He then put together back-to-back hat-tricks, getting three tallies against Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara. He added another three-goal output against Cal in the NorCal Tourney. He is second on the team with 23 goals on the season, scoring one goal in each of the Lions' three games last week. He is hitting a team-high 45 percent of his attempts (23-of-41). In addition, he has 13 assists, nine kick-outs and 15 steals.
Junior Ryan Chapatte and senior Andrew Jensen have had an impact in their return following their redshirt year in 2001. Chapatte leads the Lions in goals with 24, including a hat-trick against BYU-Hawaii. He is second on the team with 20 steals. Chapatte had six tallies in the NorCal Tournament, including a hat-trick in the 13-12 win over Long Beach State. Also adding six goals at the NorCal Tourney was Jensen. He had a three-goal game of his own, earning his first of the season in the win over Pacific. He also added two goals against the 49ers. Jensen has 14 goals on the season, hitting 34 percent of his shots. While Chapatte and Jensen returned to the line-up, senior Eric Lefebvre, who transferred from Villanova and played for their club program, joined the Lions and NCAA Division I varsity competition for the first time. Lefebvre leads the team with 47 kick-outs drawn and has added 14 goals, including a team-high five goals in the Lions' three games last week.
Claiming the Crown
The Lions won their first ever conference championship in men's water polo thanks to three impressive victories at the WWPA Championships. Hosted at LMU's Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center, the Lions defeated UC Santa Cruz 15-7 and then Air Force 13-4 to advance to the finals against UC San Diego. Earlier in the season the Lions defeated UC San Diego for the first time in school history, defeating the Tritons 7-6 at the Burns Aquatics Center on Oct. 25. They repeated the task, winning the conference title with a 4-2 win over UCSD. With the win, LMU advanced to the NCAA men's water polo final four.
At the Final Four
The Lions were met with cold and rainy weather at Stanford as they prepared for the National Championships. LMU (seeded third) was matched against UCLA (seeded second) for the first game. The Bruins came out strong in the first half, outscoring the Lions 5-1. LMU turned the second half around to bring the score within two, as time ran out and the defending national champions UCLA advanced to the Championship game with the 7-5 victory. With the loss on the first day the Lions advanced to the consolation game, where they faced the University of Massachusetts for third place. LMU jumped out to the early 11-5 halftime lead of the match, then capped it with three second half goals to claim the 14-6 win.
Kevin Witt repeated his All-American title this season, as he was once again named to the second team. He was the second highest scorer on the team with 42 goals from 112 attempts. LMU's goalie, Kevin Paulsen, was also given honorable mention from the USWPA for his instrumental role in the cage for the Lions. Paulsen ended the season with 192 saves, allowing only 159 goals. He was one of four Lions to have played in each of the Lions 29 games on the season.
LMU Head Coach
John Loughran enters his sixth season at the helm of Loyola Marymount University aquatics. He has reached unparalleled success in overseeing the men's and women's water polo and women's swimming programs. In 2001 he earned his 150th victory as a head coach with the Lions' 14-7 win over Redlands at the end of the regular season. In the process he guided the Lions to its first-ever Western Water Polo Association championship. They finished the season 15-14, earning a bid to the NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship. Loughran has won three straight Coach of the Year honors by the WWPA, two in women's water polo and one in men's. He has posted an overall record of 87-75 (.537) in five-plus seasons at LMU, ranking him as the program's all-time winnings coach. He has also earned a record of 89-55 (.618) with the women's water polo team, leading them back to back-to-back WWPA championships and two consecutive appearances to the NCAA final four. Loughran came to Los Angeles after five years as head coach for the men's and women's water polo and men's swim teams at Queens College in Flushing, N.Y. He led Queens College men's water polo to a 75-63 overall record in five seasons. In nine years he has posted an overall record of 160-137