Playing against five nationally ranked schools from both coasts, the Loyola Marymount University men’s water polo team — itself ranked 13th — came away from last week’s pool battles with three wins as conference play approaches in two weeks.
The week included a win over UC San Diego and a split in the SoCal Invitational Sept. 27-29, co-hosted by the Lions and UCLA. The week in review:
LMU 17, UC San Diego 16: Against the No. 11 Tritons on Sept. 25 in La Jolla, LMU’s Blazo Mitrovic scored seven goals and David Carrasco added four as the Lions prevailed in a seesaw affair decided only when goalie Zach Zemliak stopped a UCSD attempt with seconds remaining for his 15th save of the day. LMU led 3-2 at the quarter, trailed 7-6 at the half, led 12-11 after three periods, and got the deciding goal from Mitrovic with 1:22 remaining. Daniel Roth and Jonny Rimlinger each scored twice for LMU.
Pacific 19, LMU 11: In the first round of the So-Cal Invitational Sept. 27, the No. 4 Tigers led 6-2 after one quarter, 10-4 at the half and were in control most of the match. Mitrovic scored three goals for the Lions, and Luke Chandler and Alexandros Athymaritis each had two; former Mater Dei star Eli Lule had an assist for Pacific.
LMU 15, Princeton 13: Playing another set of Tigers on Sept. 28 at Burns Center, the Lions rallied from a 7-6 deficit to lead by four in the final period and held on, with four goals from Athymaritis, two goals and six assists from Carrsco, three goals from Matthew Knoedler, and two goals each from Roth and Mitrovic. Goals for No. 14 Princeton (more than half of whose roster is from Southern California) included one from Wyatt Benson, ex-Mater Dei, while former Monarch Billy Motherway shared goaltending duties.
UC Davis 18, LMU 16: Trailing 5-2 after one quarter, LMU played catchup much of the evening against the No. 9 Aggies, pulling to within 17-16 with 3:20 to play, but was unable to get an equalizer. Athymaritis scored four, Rimlinger and Mitrovic three each, and Chandler and Roth each had two.
LMU 14, UC Irvine 10: The Lions bolted out to a 7-0 lead in the second quarter before the No. 10 Anteaters got untracked, and held on for the victory Sept. 29 at Burns Center. Carrasco led the way with five goals, and Mitrovic, Athymaritis, Roth and Joseph Shaw each scored twice while Jon Lien made 14 saves as LMU earned 11th place in the tournament.
On Oct. 6, LMU (5-7) hosts the U.S. Naval Academy at Burns Center in a 10:30 a.m. match, then hosts UC San Diego Oct. 12 in a WWPA conference match. Navy’s roster includes three freshmen with local Catholic school ties: Loyola’s Jonas Greer and Jake Altmayer, and Damien’s Zach Luci.