The CMS Stags Mens Water Polo team made a huge statement today, as they started off the Convergence Tournament 2-0 in the first day of play.
The Stags kicked off the action Friday morning by taking on NAIA foe Fresno Pacific. Though the game was played at the CMS pool, the first period of action belonged all to the Sunbirds.
Brian Chong managed to strike first less than a minute into the game, but FPU quickly responded by scoring four unanswered goals before the quarter ended. Among those four were two by Mateja Maksimovic, who fired two strong consecutive shots from the outside. The Stags, however, would find a way to keep Maksimovic silent virtually the entire game from then on.
After a much-needed readjustment at the quarter break, CMS returned to action with a huge penalty block by goalie Greg Mann. This momentum-changing save would put the ball back into the hands of the maroon and gold, ending on a man-advantage goal by Huston Middlesworth. From then on, the Stags took hold of the game and never let go, going on a 6-0 run in the second quarter to put them ahead 7-4 going into half.
While the Stags properly handled the Sunbirds' physical offensive styles of play, they also managed to create more offensive opportunities, netting two more in the penultimate period of action, putting CMS up 9-4 going into the fourth.
From then on, it was all Stag ball, as the Stags went on an 11-0 run, putting the game at 12-4, before allowing a FPU goal with less than half time remaining in the final quarter of action. However, the Stags regained possession and responded immediately with a man-advantage goal by Mark Nietzel. CMS allowed a final goal at the end of the game, as the clock expired, ending with a decisive CMS victory, 13-6.
CMS: Chong 3, Holland 2, Nietzel 2, Middesworth, Ruskin, Wes, Baier, Schiavoni, Lefor
FPU: Maksimovic 3, Ludwig, Lyon, Fadden
Saves: G. Mann - 7
Later that afternoon, the Stags faced east coast Division 1 competitor, George Washington University. The Stags managed to strike early and never looked back, putting GWU down, and keeping them there for the remainder of the game, finishing with a final score of 10-5.
The first quarter was a true battle of wits and composure, as the Stags scored both goals of the first in the first and last plays of the quarter. In between, however, the Colonials found space to score, putting them on the board going into the second period of action with the score 2-1.
The Stags would begin the second period as they began the first, scoring on their first possession off a Mark Nietzel man-advantage goal. Less than two minutes later, the Stags capitalized off another man-advantage opportunity to widen the gap, 4-1. With the score 6-3 going into half, CMS seemed to have a solid grasp on the game.
The third quarter was no different from the other two: CMS dominated defensively with a shut-out quarter, and were able to score two of their own to put themselves ahead by 5 going into the final quarter.
CMS found the back of the net first this quarter, but each team managed to score two, as the game ended with another CMS win, 10-5.
CMS: Holland 2, Chong 2, Nietzel 2, Middlesworth 2, Baier, Thomasson
GWU: Mojica 3, Deasey 2
Saves: Mann (CMS) 8, Illes (GWU) 11
The Stags return to action tomorrow morning at 11:40 am (PST), as they take on Cal Baptist University, and face Div. 3 rival #2 Johns Hopkins University at 5:00 pm (PST). Last weekend, the Stags were unsuccessful against CBU, having missed several opportunities that ultimately led to a 15-16 loss. Now that the Lancers are at Axelrood Pool, Coach Greg Lonzo and the Stags are hoping for a different outcome in favor of the Stags. Game two figures to be an important one as well, as the Stags are vying to return to the top of the Div. 3 polls. A win against JHU would be very instrumental in getting them there.