The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges Men's Water Polo team was ranked 2nd in the latest Division III poll by the Collegiate Water Polo Association. This marks the second consecutive week that the Stags have been in the No. 2 position, dropping from the top spot for the first time last week to cross-street rivals, Pomona-Pitzer Colleges.
The Stags garnered 93 points this week, having fallen from 96 points last week, to go behind only Pomona-Pitzer, who collected 99 points this week. Johns Hopkins University took third in the polls with 91 points, while University of Redlands and Cal Lutheran University received 85 and 80 points, respectively, to round out the top 5 in Division III. CMS will clash heads with the top-ranked Sagehens October 19 at Axelrood Pool as part of a SCIAC conference regular-season match up.
The end of this week concludes an 11-day stretch for the Stags in which no games have been played. It also marks the longest period for the remainder of the season without any competition. During that time the Stags have taken a fitness-oriented approach to the pool, focused on strength and speed, both necessary for the coming competition in the following weeks.
This time has given Coach Greg Lonzo the opportunity re-evaluate team goals and make certain changes to the depth chart.
"I think the guys have done a great job keeping up with the program, but we still have a ways to go before we are where we need to be. However, now that our bodies can start to keep up with the level of play, we can begin incorporating a mental approach," says Lonzo.
Coming off an exciting alumni weekend, filled with many former Stag legends and their families, the current Stags are back in the water ready to begin applying a mental aspect to their already strong style of play. The Stags were clearly out-smarted by the Alums, losing a tough battle 11-14. However, this only fueled the Stags drive to come back prepared and ready for an intense three weeks before entering SCIAC play. The new approach hopes to give CMS an edge over tough opponents in the coming weeks.
CMS holds a 4-6 record, with all six losses coming to D1 nationally ranked teams. Captains Brian Chong, Vincent Schiavoni, and Ari Wes, however, are looking towards breaking this trend, and their leadership will be put to the test in the coming weeks.
This weekend, the Stags will carry their No. 2 DIII ranking into the Lancer Invite, where the Stags will compete with two nationally ranked opponents in #16 Cal Baptist University and #10 Concordia University-Irvine. In addition, CMS will play NAIA competitor Vanguard and Riverside CC.
Following the weekend's games, the Stags will return home to host the Claremont Convergence October 7-8, where they will take on Fordham, Fresno Pacific, #20 Johns Hopkins and Cal Baptist Universities.