April 29, 2002
Santa Cruz, CA - The Loyola Marymount University 8th-ranked women's water polo team defended their Western Water Polo Association Title on Sunday with a 8-4 win over No. 9 UC San Diego and recieve their second-straight automatic bid the NCAA Final Four.
Freshman driver Jessica Conner led the Lions in scoring in the Championship game with three goals. Sophomore utility player Jamie Kroeze put a pair of goals in the cage supplemented with solo goals by Teresa Guidi, Lucy Windes and Christina Radvanyi.
With a 3-3 halftime lead the Lions pulled away in the third quarter with three goals. UCSD put one goal away early in the fourth period to bring the score to 7-4, however LMU sealed the deal with a game-closing 8-4 goal.
LMU's all-time leading goalie, Devon Courtney, was named the WWPA Most Valuable Player. She played all-but-one quarter in front of the Lions cage throughout the season. During the WWPA tournament she allowed only six goals total. Lucy Windes, who was last year's Most Valuable Player, was the only Lion named to the first team, All-WWPA. Sophomore Teresa Guidi and Senior Orla Stewart were named to the second team, All-WWPA, while sophomore Jamie Kroeze was named honorable mention, all-conference. LMU Head Coach John Loughran was named the WWPA Coach of the Year for the second-straight season, leading the Lions to their second-straight conference title.
The Lions will enter the NCAA Final Four as the No. 3 seed. Top-ranked Stanford is favored to win the National Championship with the No. 1 seed, and UCLA will play as the No. 2 team. Michigan also received the automatic bid to the NCAA Final Four with their CWPA title, entering the tournament as the No. 4 seed.
The Lions will face the UCLA Bruins in the opening round of the NCAA Final Four on Saturday, May 11 at USC at 5:00 p.m. Michigan will face the Cardinal following the conclusion of the first game.
- GO LIONS -