This past week marked the start of the men’s and women’s basketball seasons, but they were not the only ones in action. Here is what went down in the world of LMU sports this past week.
The men’s basketball team played its first game under new Head Coach Mike Dunlap in an exhibition game against UC San Diego. Though the game did not count, it was an important tune-up game for the season to come. The Lions got off to an early deficit and were down 28-14 with 10 minutes left in the half. However, they battled through and tied it up heading into halftime. A hard fought game from both sides led to the Lions coming out on top 67-66. Redshirt senior forward Godwin Okonji had a complete game with 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and a steal. Not a bad way to start off the Dunlap era.
The women’s basketball team kicked off its season with two exhibition games in Gersten Pavilion. First, the Lions took on Cal State Dominguez Hills (CSDH). The team had an 11-point lead with only five minutes left in the first half, but a serious run by CSDH had them 40-39 leading at the break. The game remained close throughout the second half and came down to the wire. Junior guard Deanna Johnson broke the tie in the final second of the game with a driving layup to give the Lions an 88-86 victory. The Lions’ second match against Bethesda University was far easier. The Lions had four players end with double figures in points and rolled Bethesda 79-62. Senior forward Emily Ben-Jumbo had her second straight double-double to start off the year.
The men’s soccer team had two important West Coast Conference (WCC) matches in Northern California this weekend. First, the Lions took on the University of San Francisco Dons. The Dons had been undefeated in conference play entering the game, making them a very difficult opponent. After both teams found the net in regular time, the game was forced into an overtime period. The teams remained scoreless in this first overtime period, but just minutes into the second, freshman forward Alvaro Madrigal put the ball in the back of the net, giving the Lions a 2-1 win. Their next match was against the Santa Clara University Broncos. Again, the team found themselves heading into overtime tied 1-1. However, neither team could seize an opportunity to score, and the game ended in a draw.
Men’s golf travelled to Hawaii to compete in the 2014 Ka'anapali Classic Collegiate Invitational at Ka`anapali Golf Course. Led by junior Braden Baer and junior Connor Campbell, the Lions were able to finish with a three-round score of 870 – good enough for seventh in the tournament. Baer finished with a final round score of 68 to bring his total to 211, tied for 11th. Campbell finished one stroke behind after shooting par in the final round to finish tied for 14th. This was the last tournament for the Lions in 2014; they will next play in the Arizona Intercollegiate on Jan. 26-27.
Men’s water polo
With only two games left against Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) foes, the men’s water polo team needed a solid weekend in order to improve its seeding for the WWPA conference tournament. First, the team faced off against California Baptist University. The two teams had a high scoring matchup in which neither team led by more than two for the first four quarters. After a last minute goal by Cal Baptist, the game headed into overtime. The Lions came alive in the overtime period and were able to dominate the Lancers, winning by a final score of 20-17. The Lions next went up against the Air Force Academy. The team had previously lost to the Falcons twice this season and were hoping to avoid a third loss. However, the Lions were not as lucky this time around, losing to Air Force 10-9. The loss heavily fell on the third quarter during which time the Lions were outscored 4-0. The Lions next play CSU Long Beach before heading into the WWPA Championships.
The women’s volleyball team only had one match this weekend, but it was an important one. The Lions squared off against their rival, Pepperdine University, in a critical matchup in the Wells Fargo PCH Cup. The Lions dominated the Waves and won in straight sets, 25-20, 25-18 and 25-23. This moved the Lions to 20-5 for the season and 8-5 in the WCC. This is the first time in over a decade that the Lions have reached the 20-win mark, with the team going 26-7 in 2003. Senior blocker and hitter Litara Keil got her name in the record books, passing Tiana Newsome (’03) for the most block assists in a career. Keil passed Newsome’s 349 mark with four block assists against Pepperdine to bring her total to 352 during her time at LMU.
The women’s soccer team had its final match of the season, playing University of San Diego on Sullivan Field. The team was looking for its 10th win of the season, a mark they have not reached since 2010. Both teams were evenly matched, entering the match 9-7-2. However, the Lions were unable to keep up and the Toreros won 2-0. Though a tough loss, the Lions did celebrate their seniors for the work they have done at LMU. Seniors Jenni Benger, Amanda Dudley and Brianne Medved were all honored before the game.
Information compiled from lmulions.com