In an epic battle of the best that the SCIAC has to offer, the Stags (10-9, 2-2 SCIAC) proved that they could play on the national stage, but still could not manage to defeat D3 #1 University of Redlands (13-12, 4-0 SCIAC) Wednesday night at Axelrood Pool. The game was a nail-biter until the closing minutes of the game, but CMS could not hold onto the win, as they lost 13-15.
The game opened up with U of R netting the first of the match, but CMS quickly responded with one of their own. The two teams traded goals for the remainder of the quarter, ending the period with Redlands up 5-4. However, CMS rallied back to take the lead 8-5 the next quarter, and allowing Redlands to only convert on one play, sending the Stags into the half with the lead, 8-6. At the break, the Stags knew that they would have to come out strong and keep up the momentum, but the Bulldogs forced a turnover on the first possession and countered for a goal.
This quarter proved to be effective for the Bulldogs, as they were awarded a series of steals that lead to counter attacks, from which came either ejections or goals. The Stags, however, were able to put up three of their own, as they had the majority of their 6x5 opportunities in this quarter. With two seconds left in the penultimate period, the Bulldogs launched a shot from half that miraculously was tipped in by a CMS defender, sending things into the fourth tied at 11-11.
Moments before the ball dropped to start off the last period, the air became crisp, the lights became a little brighter, and the fans erupted from all parts of the stadium, making noises that could be heard miles away. The Stags won the sprint, but missed their opportunity, which led to a goal by Redlands. Although the Stags never gave up until the final seconds, the four goals scored in the fourth by Redlands was too much for CMS to handle.
Though defeated, the Stags never quit and played Redlands to a game that, ultimately, was decided by tip-ins and other miracle shots. Hopefully, the Stags will have an opportunity to play Redlands again, and they will prove that they deserve to be at the top of the conference. CMS was led by Brian Chong (JR, Mercer Island, WA) with four goals, while Maarten Lefor (FR, Sherman Oaks) and Andrew Cosentino (SR, Greenwich, CT) had two each. Greg Sanford (SR, Newport Beach), Ari Wes (JR, Mercer Island, WA), John Holland (FR, Orinda), Huston Middlesworth (SO, Bellevue, WA), and Josh Thomasson (FR, Chino Hills) had one apiece. Middlesworth, once again, led the team with four assists, while Sean Wasserman (SR, Los Gatos) had four blocks.