Lions Get 100 Plus One

Claire Wright made 19 saves Saturday.

Feb. 8, 2014

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LA JOLLA, Calif. -- LMU women's water polo claimed a sweep in the opening day of the UC San Diego Triton Invitational on Saturday, giving Head Coach Kyle Witt his 100th career win with a 10-7 victory over No. 16 UC Santa Barbara in the opener. They then gave him a little something extra special with a thrilling 7-6 overtime win over the host and sixth-ranked Tritons.

"We really overcame a lot today, and today was a huge, huge team effort. I am very proud of how this team came together," said Witt. "It is good to get 100, but I am stoked that we got 101. That is the one that mattered."

The Tritons and Lions, who were league mates with the Western Water Polo Association until LMU moved to the Golden Coast Conference this season, decided each of the last four WWPA titles. No longer in the same league, the rivalry looked to be taking a break.

It is alive and well as senior Alexandra Honny scored with five seconds remaining to tie the game at 6-6 and then sophomore Danielle Johnson scored with 39 seconds left in the first of two overtimes to lift the Lions to the win and into the championship bracket on Sunday.

LMU will face fifth-ranked UC Irvine at 12:30 pm in the semifinals while No. 1 USC will face No. 10 Arizona State in the first semifinal.



"We really came together today," said Witt. "We had to really shuffle our line-up due to a bunch of players fighting illness, we overcame a deficit in the 6-on-5 chances and really everyone stepped up and played huge for us."

Sophomore goalie Claire Wright stepped up big for the Lions in net, making nine saves in the opener to advance to face the Tritons, then making 12 more against UCSD.

"WE the defense broke down, Claire stepped up and made the save," said Witt. "She came up big. She allowed us to really play aggressive defense and that really helped us. Anytime you see a 7-6 score in a game against two good teams, the defense and goalies had a big role in that game."

Like they did in the opener against UCSB, the Lions jumped out to a 3-1 lead only to see the Tritons tie it with just one second remaining in the first half.

UCSD would then take a two-goal lead of their own, 5-3, with the first two goals of the third quarter. Erin Byrne would score with 25 seconds left in the quarter to make it 5-4.

Mackenzie Beck, who had two goals in the game to lead LMU, tied the game with 6:03 to play in regulation. It stayed tied at 5-5 until Jolene Guiliana scored with 3:06 to take the lead back.

UC San Diego would milk the clock down to 10 seconds before giving the ball back to LMU. After a timeout, the Lions drew a 6-on-5 with eight seconds left and Honny would capitalize to send the game into overtime.

In the opener, the Lions jumped out to a 4-1 lead and stretched it to 9-2 with 2:03 to play in the third quarter. They would hold on to earn the 10-7 win. Honny led the Lions with three goals in the win.

For complete tournament information, visit the Triton Invite Tournament Central.


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