ATHLETICS | A new trophy has been added to Loyola Marymount softball’s collection. The Lions advanced to the championship round of the National Invitational Softball Championship, played at Smith Field, then triumphed in three games last week to win the second-annual postseason tournament. The Lions used the power of their bats to erase a three-run deficit to beat UT Arlington on Wednesday, capitalized on a Hannah Bandimere two-hit shutout on Thursday to top UC Riverside, and won the championship on Friday with a 5-0 shutout highlighted by another complete game by tournament MVP Bandimere. All-tournament selection Alicia Brown hit her second grand slam of the week to secure the victory.
In women’s tennis, LMU’s freshmen doubles pair of Veronica Miroshnichenko and Eva Marie Voracek had their national championship run end in the round of 16 on Friday at the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Doubles Championship held at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Playing in the round of 16 earlier Friday morning, Miroshnichenko (No. 48 in ITA rankings) claimed the opening set of a match against eight-seed No. 10 Fernanda Contreras (Vanderbilt), but suffered a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 setback from the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Singles Championship. By reaching the round of 16 with a Thursday win over ITA No. 16 overall player Stacey Fung (Washington), Miroshnichenko became the first LMU women’s tennis All-American in program history.
Seniors Maddi Vorgitch and Jack Polerecky took to the track Thursday under the lights in the 10,000 meters against arguably the toughest fields in NCAA preliminary round history. Both the men’s and women’s fields included multiple national champions and numerous All-Americans. The East and West preliminaries brought together the top 48 individuals from each region. In the women’s 10,000 meters, Vorgitch placed 43rd with a time of 35:31.41, and on the men’s side, Polerecky also finished 43rd with a time of 30:45.30.
Baseball was able to stay alive with a must-win in Friday morning’s 1-0 pitchers’ duel against San Francisco. Facing an elimination game on Friday morning at the 2018 West Coast Conference Championship Tournament in Stockton, California, Tyler Cohen and freshman Nick Frasso combined for 9.0 shutout frames to outduel San Francisco. This set up a matchup with top-seeded Pepperdine in LMU’s second game of the day. The Lions were unable to hold on to their late lead, ending their season after returning to the WCC Championship Tournament for the fourth time in five years.
The awards continue to come for junior Riley Elmes of men’s golf. After a stellar season, the Golf Coaches’ Association of America has named Elmes to the Division I PING All-Region team. The award comes following Elmes’ first trip to the NCAA Regionals, where he shot 3-under par.
LMU men’s tennis turned in one of the best seasons in program history, and for its efforts, the Lions have been tabbed with the No. 55 ranking in the final ITA Team rankings of the year, the best end-of-year ranking in program history. LMU’s 19 wins are the most since setting a program-record with 20 in 2002. Playing as the third seed in the WCC Championship Tournament, LMU advanced to its first WCC Championship match, eventually dropping the decision to top-seed San Diego. At the conclusion of LMU’s seasons, fifth-year head coach Tom Lloyd was named the Wilson/ITA Southwest Coach of the Year.
Loyola Marymount University reported three athletic programs with perfect multi-year Academic Progress Rates in 2016-17, and seven of 18 teams have recorded scores of 990 or better. Comparing year-to-year, 12 of 18 teams maintained or improved their multi-year scores, according to the annual report released by the NCAA this week. The most recent rates, which include data for the 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years, show every Lion program above the 930 cutline. Women’s swimming recorded its eighth-straight 1,000 point score. In addition to swimming, golf and men’s water polo also posted a perfect APR score – earning last week’s NCAA Public Recognition Awards for ranking in the top-10 percent of their sport.