ATHLETICS | Three Loyola Marymount University programs made it to their respective conference finals this past weekend. In Claremont, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams pulled off upsets to advance to the championship games.
Playing in its first-ever West Coast Conference Tournament final, LMU men’s tennis (19-6) dropped the decision, 4-0, to No. 41 San Diego (16-8) at the Biszantaz Family Tennis Center. LMU’s 19 wins are the most since setting a program-record with 20 in 2002.
Playing in the WCC Championship final on Saturday afternoon, LMU women’s tennis (17-6) won the doubles point, but could not get past No. 11 Pepperdine (22-2) as the Waves captured a 4-1 win and their sixth consecutive WCC crown. At the conclusion of play, LMU earned a trio of WCC All-Tournament selections, as Veronica Miroshnicheko and Eva Marie Voracek took home the honor for No. 1 doubles, while Siobhan Anderson and Anna Romeka claimed the honor for No. 2 doubles. Freshman Yesica De Lucas was selected for her play on court four in singles.
A matchup Sunday in the Burns Aquatics Center Pool saw the Golden Coast Conference’s top two programs play for the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. University of the Pacific, ranked No. 7, topped No. 15 Loyola Marymount, 10-6, to take the GCC Women’s Water Polo Tournament crown. At the conclusion of the tournament, Hana Vilanova and Claire Wright were named to the GCC Tournament’s All-Tournament Team. Vilanova led the Lions with nine points over the tournament, scoring five goals and garnering four assists. She also shared the team-high with four steals. Wright played every minute in goal for the Lions over the weekend. She recorded 12 saves in each of her first two games of the tournament and added seven more on Sunday.
On the diamond, LMU’s softball team recorded a milestone sweep over San Diego. This marked the team’s 10th straight victory, which is the program’s longest winning streak since the 2007 season, when LMU had two long streaks of 12 and 13 wins. This win also marked a major career milestone for LMU head coach Sami Strinz-Ward, who has reached 200 wins in her head coaching career. The Lions have swept their last three opponents, also taking a 3-0 series from Santa Clara and Saint Mary’s. LMU continues to hold down the top record in the WCC, standing at 11-1 in conference play. Freshman third baseman Andrea Gonzalez and freshman pitcher Linnay Wilson were named the WCC Softball Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, the conference office announced Monday.
LMU women’s and men’s rowing showed well at the 2018 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships over the weekend from Lake Natoma, with Diana Ivanova and Rebecca Butchart highlighting the racing by winning the women’s 2x final. The LMU women will now prepare for the WCC Rowing Championships from Lake Natoma on May 12. The WIRA Championships were the final men’s races of the season. Ivanova and Butchart posted a time of 7:59.867 to lead the pack in the 2x. Duos from Cal, Lewis & Clark, UC Davis, Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara followed. The Lion pair had previously won the first heat of the prelims with a time of 8:56.562 on Saturday.
While the focus around the Athletics Department this week shifts to finals week and commencement weekend, the men’s golf team will be tuned in Wednesday afternoon for the NCAA selection show. Junior Riley Elmes, who ranks individually in the top-100 nationally, hopes to hear his named called as an at-large selection into the NCAA Tournament field of 81 teams and 45 individuals to compete in the six NCAA Men’s Regional Championships, May 14-16 (13 teams and 10 individuals at three regionals and 14 teams and five individuals at three regionals), which will be announced on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. Thirty teams and six individuals will advance from regional sites to the national championships. Live streaming coverage of the selection shows will be available through the Golf Channel Mobile App or GolfChannel.com.