PASADENA, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team advances to its eighth straight championship game in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with the 10-9 win over Whittier College. The Stags avenged the regular season loss to the Poets with a come-from-behind victory in the fourth quarter.
Tomorrow, the Stags face Pomona-Pitzer in the SCIAC Championships Final at 3:15 p.m. at Pasadena City College.
Whittier got on the board first and then CMS countered with a goal by junior Noah Deer (CMC). Marko Monic for the Poets had a hard shot go off the post and the Stag defense quickly got the ball in Deer's hands for the equalizing goal. CMS took the brief lead with a power play goal from Deer. The senior in the cage, Rye Newman (CMC), made six saves in the first period alone, drawing cheering from the crowd with each shot he deflected.
The Poets then rattled of four goals in a row to take the 5-2 lead near the end of the second quarter. Again, Newman came up with two back-to-back saves on shots from close range as Whittier crashed goal area. The Stags put in their third goal at the 3:12 mark before halftime. Junior Peter Tilton (CMC) assisted senior Ellison Taylor (CMC) to get CMS within two goals going into the break.
The third quarter opened up with a penalty goal by senior Eric Bakar (CMC) but Whittier's Massimiliano Mirarchi found the back of the net just 15 seconds later to go up 6-4. After some solid defense, Deer scored his third of the day on a backhand shot, assisted by Taylor from the right side. On the Stags' next possession, freshman Ethan Lewis (CMC) put in his first score of the game from a 6-on-5 opportunity. With the score tied again at 6-6, the Stags renewed their focus.
Whittier recorded two consecutive goals, including another by Mirarchi to go up 8-6 before Tilton was set up by senior Alex Waggoner (CMC) for the Stags' fourth goal of the quarter.
Monic scored in the Poets' first possession of the final period to take a two-goal lead. Waggoner and Tilton combined again, this time with the lefty scoring. Mirarchi got tagged with his third exclusion with 6:50 on the clock, ejecting the Poets' leading scorer for the remainder of the game as his team had just a one-goal lead.
The Stags controlled the final minutes of the game as Waggoner assisted both Deer and Lewis. CMS evened the score at 9-9 with 4:17 on the clock. From that point on, Newman made three saves to shut out the Poets for the rest of the game. CMS' final goal came on a power play with Lewis notching his second goal of the game. Whittier still had a chance at a few more possessions but CMS held on for the dramatic victory.
Newman ended up with 18 saves in the game as Whittier had 16 more shots than the Stags at 27. Today, CMS limited their exclusions with just eight in the game in comparison to Whittier's 13.
By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director
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