Loyola Marymount's Loughran on season strategy, Serbian powerhouses
Since arriving in 1997, head coach John Loughran has led the Loyola Marymount men’s squad to eight WWPA Championships and their women’s team to seven titles. He has been named WWPA Coach of the Year five times coaching the LMU men and four times leading their women.
Since 2000, Loyola Marymount has competed in eight NCAA Championships. LMU has been the cream of the crop in the WWPA and they are once again strong, ranking tenth in the nation this season.
Loyola Marymount finished 10th at NorCal beating rival UCSD and Concordia, while losing to Pacific and Long Beach State. Can you tell us what you thought of your NorCal performance?
Loughran: We were inconsistent. We played great some quarters and were very average in others. If we play consistently for four quarters, we can play with anyone. Our team is still adjusting to changes we are making and we need to be ready to start playing at the next level. We are looking forward to the SoCal Tournament - it will be a good measure to see how much we can improve between the two tournaments.
Milutin Mitrovic has already had an impact for you as a freshman. Can you tell us a little about him?
Loughran: Milutin is a very experienced player from Serbia, where he played on their junior team. Milutin is a great perimeter and team defender, as well as an outstanding passer and shooter. He has a high water polo IQ and has been working hard to adjust to the style of play and officiating in the NCAA game. Vuk Cvetkovic is also a Serbian freshman new to our program this year. Vuk is a left-handed center and I expect him to have a very positive impact on the team this season. Both of our Serbian freshmen are outstanding students and we are very happy to have them in our program.
Jon Colton is a returning All-American. What are you expecting from him this season?
Loughran: I expect Jon to be one of our leaders in the water. I believe he is one of the top two-meter defenders in the country. He also has to continue making strong contributions to the offense in order for our team to keep moving forward.
What does Loyola Marymount need to do to win the WWPA and get back to the championship tournament?
Loughran: This season we have a good mix of returning experience and youthful exuberance. We have true and redshirt freshmen in starting positions. We need to learn how to play together to get back to championship form. Our focus has to be on improving week by week. We are still developing our character and personality as a team and this will take time. Our learning curve is going to be high this season and it will take some time to continue developing roles and finding the correct rotations. This is going to be a process for us this year and as long as we continue to move forward we are going to be a very good team leading up to WWPA Championships.