March 6, 2003
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A well-rested Loyola Marymount University women's water polo team will head to Santa Barbara for the UC Santa Barbara Invitational on March 8-9. The #6 Lions are coming off an eight-day layoff after starting the season with a 5-4 overall record. On the season, eight of the nine teams LMU has faced have come against teams ranked in the top-20 nationally.
The Lions will make their sixth appearance in the UC Santa Barbara Invitational, playing in the annual tournament every year of the program's existence. The 16-team field will feature four different groups, with LMU playing in Group B with third-ranked UCLA, conference rival #9 UC San Diego and Redlands. The Lions are the second seed in the Group and will take on three-seed UC San Diego. The Bruins are the top seed in the Group and will take on Redlands. The Lions will open the tournament on March 8 against UCSD and will be played at the Campus Pool at 10:10 a.m., as the tournament will use two pools located on UCSB's campus. The winners of the first games of Group B will play at 1:40 with the losers playing at 2:50.
Against the Field
LMU will open the Gaucho Water Polo Tournament against Western Water Polo Association rival UC San Diego. It will be the 15th meeting in the six-year history of the women's program that the teams will meet, the most among any opponent faced by the Lions. The Tritons hold a 9-5 edge in the series, but have lost the last five meetings to the Lions. The Lions have a combined record of 6-4 against the other teams in Group B, going 6-1 against Redlands and 0-3 against UCLA. Against the entire field, LMU is 37-54. The record is highlighted by a 6-0 record against Pacific and a 6-2 mark against San Diego Sate, while going 0-8 against San Jose State and 0-7 against USC.
In the Rankings
The Lions continued to move up the ranks of the nation's elite as they were ranked sixth in the 2003 preseason poll by the American Water Polo Coaches' Association and retained that ranking in the last four weeks. The Lions, who have won the Western Water Polo Association championship the last two seasons, will be looking for their third straight trip to the NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship. The number six ranking is the highest since they finished last season ranked seventh in the nation while defeating Michigan in the third place game of the 2002 NCAA Championship. LMU follows top-ranked Stanford, UCLA, USC, Long Beach State and California in the national poll.
Playing in their final game before a nine-day break, the Loyola Marymount University women's water polo team defeated a team from Australia, 5-2 in an exhibition game at the Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center on Wednesday afternoon. In a game dominated by defense, the Lions scored four second half goals to earn the win. Junior Devon Wright scored the final two goals of the game. The Australian team was a group of university all-stars touring during their summer break. Wright would score at the 5:41 mark and then at the 2:00 mark for the 5-2 win. Freshman goalie Rachel Riddell would help preserve the win with four fourth quarter saves, 13 on the game... vs. California... Prior to the Australia exhibition game, LMU dropped a 7-3 decision to the University of California, Berkeley at the Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center on Feb. 23. The difference for the Bears was All-American goalie Lauren Dennis. The junior made five saves in the decisive fourth quarter and finished with 11 in the game to keep the Lions from getting the equalizer. Cal's Allison Gold scored the eventual game winner in the third quarter. Devon Wright, Jessica Conner and Julia Wald scored for the Lions... vs. Michigan... The Lions began the week with a 7-5 win over Michigan on Friday, Feb. 21. Freshman Katie Hicks powered the Lions' offense with her second three-goal game of the season. Sheetal Narsai scored two goals, both on penalty shots, to lead the Wolverines. LMU would take the lead right before half when junior Teresa Guidi tallied her only goal of the game with just 47 seconds remaining until the break. The Lions would build on the halftime lead with two unanswered goals in the third quarter. Wright would earn her second of the game and Hicks would also get her second with just three seconds left in the third quarter to put LMU up 6-3. Michigan would not go away as Julie Nisbet would cut the score to 6-4 on an extra-man attack with 5:00 minutes remaining. Just over a minute later the Wolverines would make it a one-goal game when Stephanie Rupp scored at the 3:45 mark. The Lions defense would then force four straight turnovers by the Wolverines to hold on for the win. Hicks would score at the buzzer for the final 7-5 margin.
Making a Statement
Junior Teresa Guidi has started out hot with her All-Tournament selection in the UC San Diego Arena Invitational. She is tied for second on the team with eight goals. In addition to Guidi, several newcomers are making an instant impact in their first season at LMU. Junior college transfer Neisha Hoagland also has eight goals on the season, hitting on 50 percent. Freshman goalie Rachel Riddell has had a solid start, making 63 saves in five games of work for a 4.53 goals against average.
Freshman Katie Hicks has already posted strong start to her first season of collegiate water polo. The native of San Luis Obispo leads the team with 11 goals, earning a pair of hat-tricks in the process. She also has nine steals and three assists on the year. She is shooting 37 percent on the season (11-of-30).
LMU earned a third place finish at the 2002 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championships thanks to a 6-4 win over the University of Michigan. Senior Lucy Windes scored four of the Lions' six tallies and senior Western Water Polo Association Player of the Year Devon Courtney made several tough saves in the victory. With the game tied at 1-1, Windes took over. She would score with 6:19 remaining in the second period to give LMU a 2-1 lead and then again just over 40 seconds later for the 3-1 lead. The game would go into halftime with Lions up 3-2. Teresa Guidi would score possibly the Lions' biggest goal of the game with just 1:24 remaining in the third period to give LMU a 4-2 lead. Windes would add her third of the game on a penalty shot with just four seconds remaining in the third. Windes would get her fourth of the day with 1:50 left in the fourth period to give LMU the 6-3 lead. The Lions were put into the consolation game against Michigan thanks to a 11-2 loss to UCLA in the NCAA Women's Water Polo semifinals. It was the second straight season the Lions have fallen to the Bruins in the first day of the NCAA Championship.
Three members of the Loyola Marymount University women's water polo team were named to the 2002 American Water Polo Coaches Association All-American team, the most ever in the program's five-year history. Senior Lucy Windes, who became the first player in program history to claim back-to-back All-American honors, was selected second-team All-America for the second consecutive season. Earning third-team All-America honors was senior goalie Devon Courtney, her first selection to the All-America team. Also earning her first selection was sophomore Teresa Guidi, who earned honorable mention All-America honors.
The Lions became just the fourth team in LMU history to claim back-to-back conference championships with three convincing wins in the Western Water Polo Association championships held April 26-28 at UC Santa Cruz. The Lions outscored their opponents 38-6 during the tournament to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Final Four. The Lions defended their Western Water Polo Association title on Sunday with a 8-4 win over No. 9 UC San Diego to receive their second-straight automatic bid. Freshman 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, which was supplemented by solo goals from Guidi, Windes and Christina Radvanyi. With a 4-3 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. LMU would get the goal right back to seal the victory.
Following the 2002 WWPA tournament, the Lions once again dominated the postseason awards. LMU's all-time leading goalie, Devon Courtney, was named the WWPA Player of the Year. She played in 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 Player of the Year, joined fellow senior Courtney as a first-team All-WWPA selection. Sophomore Teresa Guidi and Senior Orla Stewart were named second-team All-Conference, while sophomore Jamie Kroeze was named honorable mention. It was Guidi's second straight selection. 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. They added to the list of accomplishments when Windes was a NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship first-team All-Tournament selection. Guidi was also recognized as a second-team All-Tournament selection.
LMU's Head Coach
John Loughran begins his sixth season at the helm of the women's water polo program at Loyola Marymount University. In his tenure as the head coach of all three Lions' aquatics programs, Loughran has posted total success. He has now earned the Western Water Polo Association women's water polo coach of the year in the last two seasons for guiding the Lions to back-to-back conference titles. The women's team ended the national championship in third place in 2001 and will again earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship this year. Loughran has earned three straight winning seasons and with this year's 21-8 mark, he has posted back-to-back 20-win campaigns. His career record sits at 92-57 (.617).
- GO LIONS -