Brandon Brown

 Men's basketball tips off their season this Friday against CSU Fullerton at 7 p.m. at Gersten Pavilion. 

As the fall sports teams’ seasons are winding down, the winter sports teams' are just beginning. Now, there are more players eligible for LMU top athlete since the start of the school year. Despite the increase in players, there were still some clear winners. Here are last week’s top performers:

5. Brandon Brown, junior guard, men’s basketball: The men’s basketball team will kick off its season today when it faces off against CSU Fullerton in Gersten Pavilion at 7 p.m. However, the team worked through its offseason rust by winning an exhibition game against CSU Dominguez Hills on Sunday. Brown was the game’s leading scorer with 26 points and zero turnovers, and added an assist and three rebounds as well. The only thing holding Brown back in the rankings is that the game was an exhibition game against a less challenging opponent. If he can continue this performance in the regular season, he will climb up the list as time goes by. Brown was also featured in this week's print issue.

4. Connor Campbell, senior, golf: Campbell had a stellar performance at the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic, which took place over the weekend in Lahaina, Hawaii. Campbell finished with a three-round score of 212, good enough for -1 overall and a tie for ninth place. Campbell finished eight strokes ahead of the next two Lions, seniors Braden Baer and Chase Nicolai. Campbell’s top-10 finish helped propel the Lions to a 10th place finish in the 19-team tournament.

3. Jo Blankenship, senior midfielder, women’s soccer: A game-winning assist in overtime would be a good week for anyone in soccer, but it was something special for Blankenship. In the final game of the season on senior night, Blankenship beat the record for career assists at LMU when she recorded her 19th in the 92nd minute against Pepperdine University. Sophomore forward Sarah Sanger converted Blankenship’s corner kick to seal the victory and a perfect record at home for the Lions. The record-breaking assist was even sweeter after it helped the Lions earn their third NCAA Tournament bid in school history.

2. Dayne Jagga, freshman center, men’s water polo: The men’s water polo team had a rough week in the pool, losing to Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) competitor No. 10 UC Davis on Saturday after beating San Jose State University on Friday. However, one Lion played tremendously well. Jagga had eight goals between the two games and led the team against San Jose State. Jagga’s presence in the pool is necessary for the Lions as they enter the final stretch of the season and for years to come, as senior center Vuk Cvetkovic will be gone after this season.

1. Rachelle Suaava, senior middle blocker/opposite and Sarah Sponcil, sophomore outside hitter/setter, volleyball: These two were impossible to separate because of their outstanding performances in two wins last week. Suaava was an absolute beast in the Lions’ game against Gonzaga University on Saturday. She had 24 kills and nine block assists to lead the team in points with 28.5. Sponcil was strong in both games last week. She had 18 kills, three service aces, 18 digs and a block assist in the five-set match against Gonzaga. Sponcil also picked up 17 kills and 16 digs against the University of Portland. These two were just a couple of the Lions who played well this past week and helped extend the team’s winning streak to five.

This is the opinion of Jack Sullivan, a senior communication studies major from Las Vegas, Nevada. Tweet comments to @LoyolanSports, or email jsullivan@theloyolan.com.

Jack Sullivan is a senior communication studies major with a certificate in journalism and a minor in business administration. He is from Las Vegas, Nevada and grew up with three sisters and no brothers (fun, right?).

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