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LMU Women’s Water Polo Team Returns to NCAA Tournament

For the seventh time in the past nine years, the Loyola Marymount University women’s water polo team is heading to the NCAA championship tournament. The Lions earned a spot in the tournament by winning the Western Water Polo Association title April 26, 2009, at the University of Santa Clara.

“It was great to bring the conference title back to LMU,” Coach John Loughran said. “We are very excited to be going back to the NCAA championship. If we continue to play at this level, we feel we can do very well at the tournament.”

The Lions play Hawaii in the opening round on May 8 at the University of Maryland. The teams met March 23 at the Burns Aquatic Center, with Hawaii taking an 8-7 victory. “We have a very tough task ahead of us in facing the fourth seed in Hawaii,” Loughran said. “We played them very tough here at LMU this season.” This year’s field includes: top-ranked USC, Cal Lutheran, Michigan, Marist, Stanford and UCLA. The Bruins are the defending champions and have won the past four NCAA titles.

Senior Nicole Hughes, the team’s leading scorer this season and the LMU career scoring leader, said, “We have worked very hard this season, and we played very well to win our conference championship. We feel we can compete with everyone at the NCAA tournament and have as good of a chance to win as anyone. It is a great honor to represent LMU at this high level.”

The NCAA women’s water polo final will be shown live May 10 at 4 p.m. PDT on CBS College Sports Network .