Oct. 19, 2004
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The Loyola Marymount University men's water polo team (13-5) took control of the race in the Western Water Polo Association thanks to an 8-4 win against sixth-ranked UC San Diego last week. The Lions will hope to use that momentum in a pair of tough home games against teams ranked in the top-five. LMU will take on third-ranked USC (14-2) on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 3:30 p.m. and will close the week with fifth-ranked UC Santa Barbara (16-5) on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Both games will be played at the Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center.
Each of the previous seven season under Head Coach John Loughran, the men's water polo program has been hoping to earn some positive first each and every year. The Lions earned another important one last week as they defeated UC San Diego at their home pool for the first time in program history in front of more than 1,700 fans. The Lions will hope to continue that trend this week when they look for their first win over the third-ranked and defending champion USC Trojans. The Trojans enter the game at 14-2 and have won the previous seven meetings between the two teams, including a 6-5 come-from-behind win at the Burns Aquatics Center in 2002. UC Santa Barbara will come to the Burns Center on Sunday as one of the surprise squads so far this season. The Gauchos entered the week ranked fifth with a record of 16-5 but earned an impressive overtime win over fourth-ranked Cal last weekend and will look to move up in the rankings. UCSB and LMU have already played this season, coming in the first game of the SoCal Tournament as the Gauchos hung-on for a 5-4 win on Sept. 18. This is the 19th meetings between the two teams. UCSB holds a 13-5 edge in the series, but LMU has won four of the six meetings.
Lions Hush Sell-Out With 8-4 Win
The Loyola Marymount University men's water polo team stunned a sell-out crowd of 1,779 as they knocked off sixth-ranked UC San Diego 8-4 in a clash of Western Water Polo Association rivals on Friday night at Canyonview Pool. The water polo contest kicked-off UCSD's homecoming weekend and the Lions proved to be home crushers as they posted a two-goal edge at the half and kept UCSD from getting closer the rest of the way. The Lions improve to 12-5 on the year and take an edge in the WWPA race at 5-1. UCSD drops to 18-8 on the year. LMU took a 2-1 lead after the first period on goals by senior Trevor Wagner and sophomore Endre Rex-Kiss to take the crowd out of the game early. The seventh-ranked Lions extended their lead at the break with goals from Matt Reynolds and Cutberto Hernandez. UCSD could not get any closer as the Lions held a 6-4 edge after three thanks to another pair of goals from Sean Wimer and Nick Oster. In the fourth period, LMU pulled away on goals by Brian McShane and Rex-Kiss. The win for the Lions was career-victory number 200 for Head Coach John Loughran. The eighth-year head coach of the LMU water polo programs has been impressive in his tenure at LMU. For the men's program he has won two WWPA titles the last three seasons and has build a record of 125-99 at LMU. He was 75-63 at Queens College before arriving at LMU in 1997.
Lions Fight Off Slow Start, Whittier
With less than 24 hours to regroup after a thrilling 8-4 win on the road against their Western Water Polo Association rival, the Loyola Marymount University men's water polo team fought off a sluggish start to post a 12-7 win over Whittier at the Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center Saturday morning. With the win the Lions improve to 13-5 on the season while Whittier falls to 11-7. It was the 26th meeting between the two programs, the most in program history for the Lions. LMU holds a 23-3 edge in the series. Whittier jumped on the board first with 3:12 remaining in the first frame. However, the Lions scored two goals in the final minute to take a 2-1 lead. Scott Marshall scored first for the Lions with 44 seconds remaining and then 21 seconds later Cutberto Hernandez gave LMU the lead. The second frame saw the teams combine for seven goals as LMU took a 6-4 lead into halftime. Whittier started the frame on the second of three goals from David Mulcahey to tie it at 2-2. Endre Rex-Kiss would give the Lions the lead at 3-2 with 3:48 remaining. Just 14 seconds later Whittier would tie the game on a goal from Jake Zerbe. LMU would finally jump out to a two-goal lead thanks to tallies from Brian McShane and Sean Wimer. The lead would grow to three coming out of halftime when Tyler Swanson made it 7-4 with 4:28 remaining. Whittier would not go away, scoring the third quarter's final two goals to crawl within one, 7-6, heading into the final frame. The Lions would dominate the final frame, scoring five goals to just one for Whittier. Scoring three straight to start the frame was McShane, Swanson and Ben Easton for a 10-6 cushion. Nik Barr would score the games final two goals to cap the win. For the second straight game the Lions had seven or more players score a goal in the win as they continue to show a balanced attack as the season progresses.
Junior Endre Rex-Kiss entered the 2004 season as the Lions' main offensive returning threat from the WWPA title run in 2003. He has lived up to the billing in a big way. Rex-Kiss has scored 51 goals, including a personal best five goals against Iona (9-4-04), Santa Clara (9-10-04), Air Force (9-18-04) and UCLA (10/9/04). He leads the team in scoring and attempts with 104, earning a shooting percentage of 49.0. He has scored 22 extra-man goals and has earned 22 assists, both team highs. He has scored three or more goals in 10 of the 18 games and is on pace to become the first player in LMU history to score more than 70 points in the non-two point goal era (two-point goals were eliminated in 2000). More Stats: He leads the team in steals with 19. After scoring eight goals last week, Rex-Kiss now sits fifth all-time in LMU history with 157 career goals. He is also fifth with 73 assists and tied for seventh with 85 steals.
Senior Sean Wimer was asked to be one of the leaders on this year's team and he has responded with one of his best seasons to date. He has played in every game so far this season and has already surpassed his career high with 18 goals, which is second on the team this season. His 10 assists already this season is a personal best and his 14 kick-outs drawn sets a career high. Also having an impressive senior season is Tyler Swanson. The fourth-year player from El Segundo High School had a career game in the win over Pepperdine. He earned just his second hat-trick of his career to give him six goals on the season. He now has eight goals on the year.
Sean Wimer is one of seven guys to have more than 10 goals, giving the Lions a balanced supporting cast behind Endre Rex-Kiss, one of the nation's leading scorers with 51 on the year. Rex-Kiss is averaging three goals a game and is getting offensive support from Wimer (18 goals), Nick Oster (14), Scott Marshall (13), Brian McShane (14), Matt Reynolds (12), and Ben Easton (12). The balanced attack was in full force last weekend as seven players scored the eight goals in the big win at UCSD and eight scored in the win over Whittier. The future is bright for the Lions attack as Wimer is the only senior on the list.
In the past seven 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. In the men's water polo win over UC San Diego on Oct. 15, Loughran recorded his 200th career win as a men's water polo coach at the collegiate level. Loughran now has 126 wins at LMU to go with the 75 he earned while at Queens College in New York. Loughran has won six conference titles in his time at LMU, taking four straight for the women's team and two in the last three years for the men. The men's team continues to climb the national rankings and will probably move into sixth when the latest poll is released on Wednesday, Oct. 20. As for the women, Loughran has led that team to four straight NCAA appearances, including the University's first ever shot at a national title and the best end-of-the-year ranking at Number 2. 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 126-99 (.560) for the men's team in seven-plus 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.
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.
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