April 26, 2012
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LOS ANGELES - The seventh-ranked LMU women's water polo team begins their quest for the program's ninth Western Water Polo Association championship since 2001 when they open play in the 2012 WWPA Women's Championship at UC San Diego's Canyonview Aquatic Center on Friday, April 27 at 6 p.m.
The Lions earned the top seed in the WWPA Championships for the fourth consecutive season thanks to a 10-0 record this season and a 34-1 mark in the three-year tenure of Head Coach Kyle Witt. The Lions are 17-9 overall on the year and will face the winner of the No. 8 vs. No. 9 game between Colorado State (6-20, 3-9) and Cal State San Bernardino (4-35, 0-14) in the final contest of the tournament's first day.
The WWPA Championships run from Friday, April 27 through Sunday, April 29 with the title game played at 3 pm on the final day.
LMU and No. 2 seed UC San Diego have faced each other the last two title games, with LMU winning 13-10 in 2010 and then falling to the Tritons 13-11 in 2011. The host Tritons are 19-13 on the season and 8-2 in the WWPA, including a 15-7 setback to the Lions at the Burns Aquatics Center on March 10.
Since the Lions won their first title in 2001, the Lions are 102-4 all-time against the current members of the WWPA. LMU has won eight of the last 11 WWPA titles and is 36-5 all-time in the WWPA tournament.
Here is a look at the Lions, year-by-year, in the WWPA Championships:
2011 - 2-1 - Lost in finals to UCSD
2010 - 3-0 - Won WWPA title
2009 - 3-0 - Won WWPA title
2008 - 2-1 - Lost in finals to UCD
2007 - 3-0 - Won WWPA title
2006 - 2-1 - Lost in finals to UCD
2005 - 3-0 - Won WWPA title
2004 - 3-0 - Won WWPA title
2003 - 3-0 - Won WWPA title
2002 - 3-0 - Won WWPA title
2001 - 3-0 - Won WWPA title
2000 - 3-1 - Lost in semis to UCSD
1999 - 3-1 - Lost in semis to UC Davis
Totals: 36-5 overall
Leading the Lions into the 2012 championships are WWPA Player of the Year and first-team All-WWPA selection Casey Flacks, first-team All-WWPA selection Alexandra Honny, and first-team All-WWPA goalie Elise Ponce.
Flacks, who was named the LMU Student-Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season, is the Lions senior captain that has done a little of everything in her career at LMU. With her 46 assists this season, she is the all-time career record holder with 141. She is also 15th in goals with 114, fourth with 181 steals, second with 221 kickouts drawn and 12th with 273 shot attempts.
Fellow senior and goalie Ponce is also working into the record books. Her 254 saves this season is ranked sixth for a single campaign, while her 597 career saves is third all-time. She leads the league in saves and in goals against average at 6.92.
In just her second season, Honny is working herself into the record books thanks to her stellar 2012. She leads the Lions in goals this season with 68, the fourth most in a single season in program history. She Is already tied for 13th with 116 career goals, while her team-high 45 steals this season gives her 82 her career, which is ranked 19th.
Second-team All-WWPA selection Kimberly Benedetti is second on the team in goals with 52, giving her 211 in her career. She is ranked fourth and is just the fifth player in LMU history to top 200 career goals. Honorable Mention All-WWPA selection Erin Manke is also climbing the charts, ranking 11th with 117 career goals, 14th with 181 steals, and second with 128 assists.
Follow the 2012 WWPA Championships at www.TheWWPA.com and through twitter at #wwpachamps.
- GO LIONS -