Lookin' For Number FIve
Men's water polo begins quest for fifth straight conference crown on Friday as No. 1 seed.
Nov. 16, 2011
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - LMU senior Edgaras Asajavicius became the fourth straight Lion to win the Western Water Polo Association Player of the Year, and in response all he had to say was, "It doesn't mean a thing if we don't win a championship."
Asajavicius and the Lions begin their quest for a fifth straight WWPA crown on Friday as the number one seed in the 2011 WWPA Men's Water Polo Championship on the campus of UC San Diego in La Jolla, Calif. The Lions earn a bye to the quarterfinals and will face the winner of No. 8 Redlands and No. 9 Chapman at 6 p.m.
The 10th-ranked Lions enter the tournament at 15-7 overall and atop the WWPA standings at 10-1. The Lions have won eight of their last 11 games and are the No. 1 seed for the fourth straight year.
"It is great to have the number one seed, its what we have been working for all season," said Asajavicius. "But it doesn't mean a thing now. We are starting over and have to win three games."
LMU has won the last four titles and have won eight in the last 10 years. They will face a tough road as the Lions will be looking a bracket path that includes scrappy Redlands and Chapman, No. 12 UC Davis as the No. 3 seed as a potential opponent in the semifinals, and No. 14 Santa Clara and host, 11th-ranked UC San Diego waiting on the other side.
The Lions are led by first-team All-WWPA Asajavicius, who has been on fire the last couple weeks, scoring 20 goals with 16 assists in the last seven games. He now has 49 goals on the season, adding 34 assists and 36 steals. He leads the Lions in all three categories and now ranks fourth all-time at LMU with 198 goals, and his 90 career assists are also fourth all-time in LMU history.
He needs two goals to become just the fourth player in LMU history to have at least 200 goals in his career.
The Lions are anchored by first-team All-WWPA selection Jon Colton, who has become a leader in and out of the pool for the Lions. He has a career high in goals (21) and a team-high 59 kickouts.
Newcomer of the Year and second-team All-WWPA selection Joe Ferretti has been having a solid first college season, ranking second on the Lions with 35 goals and 11 assists. Goalies Kyle Testman, who was an honorable mention selection, and Gavyn Wild have been splitting time in goal and have helped anchor a defense that has allowed just over 5.9 goals a game during the winning stretch.
In the win over Santa Clara, Testman made eight saves and posted a shutout in the first half, while Wild made seven saves while allowing just two 6-on-5 goals late. It was the lowest goal total by an opponent on the season.