Feb. 23, 2005
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The Loyola Marymount University women's water polo will face an early tough test to their 2005 season with a key match-up with 11th-ranked Michigan at home on Thursday, Feb. 24 before heading on the road to the UCSB Gaucho 24-Team Invitaitonal on Friday, Feb. 25 - Sunday, Feb. 27. The Gaucho Invite will be an early test for the Lions as the field features 19 of the top-20 teams in the nation. The Lions are the top seed in Group D to start the tournament and will play Cal State Bakersfield and UC Davis on the opening day.
The Lions will close a four-game homestand when they play 11th-ranked Michigan on 3:00 p.m., Thursday at the Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center. This will be the eighth meeting between the two programs, including a meeting in the 2002 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship consolation game in which LMU won 6-5. The Lions hold a 6-1 edge in the series, falling to the Wolverines in their only meeting a year ago in the 2004 Gaucho Invitational, 3-2. Michigan enters the game with a record of 6-3, winning their last three games at the Triton Invitaitonal. They have not played a game since Feb. 6. Shana Welch leads the team with 15 goals.
Since women's water polo became a sport at LMU in 1998, the Lions have been playing in the Gaucho Invitational. The Lions are 12-16 all-time at the tournament, going 3-1 last year after falling to Michigan 3-2 in the opening game. This year's tournament will feature 24 teams, 19 of which are ranked in the nation's top-20 this week. The Lions are the top seed in Group D and will play Cal State Bakersfield at the Recreation Center Pool at 8:35 a.m. on Friday. Opening Group play will continue when the Lions play 12th-ranked UC Davis at 5:15 p.m. Play will continue with the winners from pool play taking on each other in Group J, the second place teams from pool play in Group K and third place teams in Group L. The second day of play will begin at both the Campus Pool and Recreation Center Pool on Saturday at 8 a.m. The finals will take place on Sunday starting at 8 a.m.
California's Brittani Llorente scored two goals in the last minute of the second half to break a 3-3 tie to help the #8 California Bears defeat #4 Loyola Marymount in women's water polo action this afternoon at the Burns Aquatic Center. The Lions took a 3-2 lead on Stacia Peterson's goal in the second period, but could not come back in the second half. The Lions drop their first game of the season to fall to 6-1 overall, while California improves to 4-2 on the season. The Bears took the first lead on Breana Alilison's goal, but the Lions responded with goals by Cara Colton and Christine Robinson to take a 2-1 lead. Jodie Needles tied the game at 2-2 with 35 seconds remaining in the first half. Peterson's goal gave LMU its final lead of the game with 2:03 remaining in the first half. Less than 20 seconds later, the Bears tied it up on Needles' second goal of the game, and Llorente's goals in the final minute of the second period gave the Bears the 5-3 halftime lead. Robinson scored her second goal of the game at 5:44 in the third period to make it a 5-4 game, but the Lions' offense was unable to score the rest of the game. The Bears scored two goals in a one minute span in the third period to pull ahead 7-4, and added an insurance goal in the fourth period. The Lions were led by Robinson's two goals, while Needles and Llorente each had two goals for Cal. Alex Feune de Columbi made 10 saves in net for the Bears, while Rachel Riddell made eight saves for LMU.
For the first time in program history the Loyola Marymount University women's water polo team has started the season 4-0 thanks to a pair of wins in the final day of the UC San Diego Triton Invitational on Sunday. The Lions claimed the championship of the Triton Invite with a 10-7 win over fifth-ranked Long Beach State and a 12-5 victory over eighth-ranked San Diego State. The Lions had balanced scoring throughout the entire tournament to help them to their first tournament title at the UCSD Invite in four appearances. The fourth-ranked Lions were paced by sophomore Katie Hicks' nine goals in the four games, including six goals against Long Beach State to tie the all-time single game record in LMU history. Hicks ties the record originally set by Cara Schindler on March 7, 1998. In the win over the 49ers, junior Stacia Peterson had a hat-trick and sophomore Dora Szabolcsi added a goal. Sophomore goalie Rachel Riddell kept the 49ers from getting any closer than three down the stretch. In the final game to give the Lions the tournament title, Szabolcsi and freshman Rosanna Tomiuk each scored a hat-trick. Fellow freshman Christine Robinson added a pair of goals. Four other Lions added a single goal for LMU. The Loyola Marymount University women's water polo team opened the 2005 season with a pair of wins in the first day of the UC San Diego Triton Invitational, defeating 18th-ranked UC Irvine 10-4 and host UCSD 9-2 on Saturday.
In the Rankings
After suffering their first setback of the season, the Lions dropped one spot in the polls to No. 5.The Lions started the season ranked fourth in the nation, its highest preseason ranking in school history. The preseason ranking follows the Lions No. 2 ranking to end the 2004 season. The number two ranking was the highest final ranking by any team in LMU history. The Lions started the 2004 season ranked fifth nationally and closed the season by winning 20 of their last 22 games to close the regular season at No. 5. The win over Stanford in the semifinals and strong showing in the championship game pushed the Lions to the highest final ranking for any team in LMU history at number two. The Lions finished with 93 points in the final poll by the American Water Polo Coaches Association. They have been in the national rankings every week since 2001.
Going For Six
It was quite the return for sophomore Katie Hicks. The second-year player from San Luis Obispo sat out the 2004 season and her first weekend of action back on the Lions' roster was a big one. Hicks scored six goals in an impressive 10-7 win over fifth-ranked Long Beach State on Saturday. The six tallies ties the single game record set by Cara Schindler on March 7, 1998 in a 14-0 win over Chapman. Schindler set the record in the very first season of collegiate water polo at LMU. Over the years there have been five goals scored in 13 games, including one by Hicks in her freshman season. In 2003, Hicks led the team with 54 goals, the sixth most in a single season in program history. Her team-high 18 goals this season has moved her into a tie for 9th all-time in career goals with 72.
Top Notch Scorers
Despite the loss of four key seniors, the Lions return their top two scorers from the last two seasons. Junior Stacia Peterson led the Lions to the NCAA title game last season with 62 goals, the second most in a single season in program history. Sophomore Katie Hicks led the team with 54 in 2003, giving the Lions a pair of 50-goal scorers in their arsenal. Peterson has 11 goals this season, good for second on the team with freshman Christine Robinson. Peterson now has 90 in her career, ranked sixth all-time at LMU. Jessica Conner, the only four-year senior on the squad has also seen her share of goals in the last four seasons, ranking seventh all-time with 84 goals. She has five this season. According the latest national stats, the Lions 9.9 goals per game this season is fifth best in the country.
A First For Everything
The championship game appearance in last year's NCAA Women's Water Polo Tournament was the first time any LMU team in more than 90 years of intercollegiate sports played in a title game sponsored by the NCAA. The Lions have claimed a pair of women's crew national championships, both coming in the Varsity Four races in 1981 and 1986. In addition, the win over No. 2 ranked Stanford in the NCAA Semifinals was just the third time in any sport an LMU team has defeated a team ranked second nationally. Water polo joins baseball as the only teams to knock of a No. 2, as the baseball team did it twice (May 21, 1998/6-2 at Stanford; Feb. 20, 2001/9-1 vs. USC).
Taking on the Ranked
For the second time in three years the Lions started the season taking four ranked opponents. The Lions played their fifth straight in the win over No. 15 Hartwick on Saturday. They will play their sixth of the season when they play Cal on Saturday. In the 2002 season the Lions played 13 straight ranked opponents to start the season 10-3. Taking on the ranked is nothing new for the Lions. The No. 1 Trojans were the 24th team in 2004 the Lions played who were ranked in the nation's top-20. LMU finished 18-6 overall against the top-20 while facing teams ranked in the top-10 nine times.
Make That 4
For the fourth straight year LMU won the Western Water Polo Association Championship thanks to a 7-3 win over UC San Diego in the title game at the Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center on April 25. It was the third consecutive year the WWPA rivals met in the championship game. Senior Devon Wright started the scoring, followed by sophomore Stacia Peterson and freshman Sarah Hamilton to put the Lions up 3-0. The Lions then went up 5-0 before UC San Diego would score. LMU goalie Katie Murray was solid in net with eight saves. The Lions set-up the championship win with an impressive offensive showing in the first two games, defeating Chapman in the first round 18-2 and then knocking off Cal State Bakersfield 16-8 in the semifinals.
Head Coach John Loughran
Entering his eighth season at the helm of the women's water polo program, Head Coach John Loughran has achieved unparalleled success for the Lions. In 2004 the women's water program set a school record for wins with a 25-6 overall mark on the season. The team won its fourth straight Western Water Polo Association championship and advanced to their fourth consecutive NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship. He has led the team to four straight 20-win seasons and five straight winning seasons and earned four straight WWPA Coach of the Year honors. In addition, Loughran has had 10 All-Americans, 19 All-WWPA selections and 10 All-NCAA Tournament selections. His career record reflects his success with the women's program as he has a career mark of 145-70 (.667). Loughran also led the men's team to its first WWPA Championship in 2001 and then back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. With the men's program he has compiled a record of 133-104 in eight seasons.
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