Coming off an 11-day lay-off, the seventh-ranked LMU women's water polo team will play five games in four days, starting with the fourth-ranked UCLA Bruins at the Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center on Thursday, April 8 at 3 p.m. It will put the wraps to a seven-game homestand as the Lions will head to Santa Clara for the Bronco Invitational on April 10-11.
INSIDE THE LIONS
Thanks to a thrilling 12-11 win over No. 6 San Jose State, the Lions claimed their 14th straight will to improve to a program-best 19-2 on the season. It is the longest win streak in school history and the 19 wins in 21 games is the best start in program history. It all started when LMU opened the season scoring 57 goals, the most in program history through four games, to start the season 4-0. The previous high was 41 set in 2005, the same year they set the program for goals in a season with 379. The Lions won the Triton Invitational title for the fifth time, playing in the tournament every year since 2002 and winning it in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007. The Lions have been getting balance this season with seven players with 18 or more goals. Senior Anne Scott leads the Lions with 43 goals (which is 16th nationally), while sophomore Kimberly Benedetti is right behind with 37. Junior Mary Ann Campos has 29, freshman Erin Manke has 25 and junior Diana Romero has 23. Sophomore Casey Flacks ran her total to 22 on the season after scoring eight last week to earn the WWPA Player of the Week honors for March 25, and Daisy Carillo adds 18 goals. Kristine Cato, a transfer from USC, has been stellar in anchoring the Lions' defense, making 231 saves while allowing just 6.31 goals per game (which is the best in the nation among goalies with more than 500 minutes played on the season).
The Lions Lions will play five games from Thursday through Sunday, thanks mainly to four games at The Bronco hosted by Santa Clara April 10-11. It will be a big test to see where the Lions sit this week as they take on No. 4 UCLA to start the week at home followed by No. 3 Cal on Sunday of the tournament. It will be the 14th meeting against UCLA as the Lions will be looking for their first win against the two-time defending champions. The Lions will take on Cal State San Bernardino and Santa Clara in Western Water Polo Association action before facing the Bears. The Lions have won all nine meetings against the Coyotes, who are 13-17 on the season and 2-7 against the WWPA. The match-up against SCU will be a rematch of last year's WWPA finals at Santa Clara's new pool. LMU is 12-1 all-time against Santa Clara. LMU will then open Sunday with a rare match-up with the third-ranked Bears. It will be the seventh meeting all-time and Cal leads the series 4-2. LMU has won two out of the last three. The Lions will wrap-up play on the week with Colorado State, who they are 5-0 against all-time after a 13-5 win on Mar. 19.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK TIMES FOUR
LMU sophomore Kimberly Benedetti led the Lions to a 4-0 start to the 2010 season, earning the UC San Diego Triton Invitational championship in the process. Her efforts have earned her Western Water Polo Player of the Week honors for Feb. 10. With four wins, three coming against ranked opponents, the Lions jumped from No. 10 to No. 7 in this week's national poll. Benedetti finished the weekend leading the Lions with 11 goals, including four against No. 15 UC Davis. She is having a stellar follow-up year to her freshman season a year ago, scoring 37 goals she, which is one goal shy of her career high. Anne Scott became the Lions second WWPA Player of the Week in three weeks when she shared the honor after scoring five goals in the win over UC San Diego. She leads the team with 43 goals, adding 14 assists and 15 steals. On March 3, Kristine Cato earned the honor by finishing the four-game weekend at the UCI Invitational with 56 saves, an average of 14 per game. She had a career-best 16 against UC Irvine. She allowed only four goals against CSUN, making 13 saves, including one on a penalty shot. She added two assists and two steals. On the season, she has 15 games of 10 or more saves in the 20 games she has played. The fourth Player of the Week honor came on March 25 and went to sophomore Casey Flacks. She led the Lions to a four wins over the weekend, including wins over No. 14 San Diego State and No. 20 Princeton to earn Western Water Polo Player of the Week honors for March 24. Flacks finished the weekend with eight goals, seven assists, 10 kickouts drawn and two steals. She had a career-best five goals in the win over Sonoma State and led the Lions with four kickouts drawn in the win over San Diego State. Flacks has 22 goals, 21 saves, 35 kickouts and 22 steals on the year.