The Loyola Marymount University (LMU) men’s soccer team has earned a share of the program’s first-ever West Coast Conference championship.

The Lions (12-6-2, 8-3-1 WCC), who finished the regular season tied with Santa Clara University atop the WCC standings after a 1-0 loss to San Francisco Nov. 14, did not win a spot in the national tournament. Santa Clara earned the conference’s automatic bid with a win over Gonzaga University and a 1-0-1 season record against LMU.

The Lions previously held sole possession of first place in the conference after a 2-0 victory over St. Mary’s with second-half goals by David Ponce and Phil Da Silva. Needing a win or a tie to claim first place outright, the Lions outshot San Francisco 17-11, but the Dons scored the decisive goal in the 85th minute.

Coaches said that despite the loss, LMU men’s soccer has achieved one of its best seasons in school history. The Lions’ previous best finish in the WCC was second place in 2004, while this year’s eight conference wins matches the school record, also set in 2004.

LMU tallied 12 victories during the regular season, its most since 2003, and the team registered consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time since 2003-04.

The conference title is the school’s first since the women’s rowing and men’s golf teams captured championships in 2006.

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