Stags handed four tough losses at the Inland Empire Tournament

Ellison Taylor (Photo by John Valenzuela)
Ellison Taylor (Photo by John Valenzuela)

LA VERNE, Calif. – In their second tournament of the year, the CMS men's water polo team traveled on Sept. 13 and 14 to La Verne to play four non-conference games. The Stags went 0-4 for the weekend, facing La Verne and Air Force on Saturday, Sept. 13 and NCAA Division I powerhouses, No. 3 UCLA and No. 6 Long Beach State on Sunday, Sept. 14. CMS lost 13-10 to La Verne, 11-9 to Air Force, 13-7 to UCLA, and 11-5 to Long Beach State.

La Verne 13, CMS 10
CMS fell to La Verne on Saturday in a non-conference game against a SCIAC team. The Stags came out strong, with senior Mark Nietzel scoring within the first thirty seconds and junior Tanner Cullen dominating the quarter with four goals. At the end of the quarter, CMS led 5-2 over La Verne.

The Stags stumbled in the second quarter; sophomore Ellison Taylor scored his first goal of the season. La Verne outscored CMS 3-1 to bring the score within one. Going into halftime the score was 6-5 with the Stags struggling to keep the lead over the Leopards.

In the third, both CMS and La Verne found the net twice. Taylor scored his second goal of the game early in, and two more by Cullen kept the Stags within one going into the fourth at 8-7.

La Verne came back with a six goal streak in the fourth, only interrupted with a goal by sophomore Alex Waggoner with a minute left in the game.  The Stags could not recover, and the final score was 13-10.

Cullen had a game-high six goals, followed by Taylor with two. Nietzel and Waggoner both put one goal on the board.

Air Force Academy 11, CMS 9
In a tightly contested match against the Air Force Academy, CMS lost by two with a final score of 11-9. In the first quarter, the Stags outscored their opponents 4-1. Cullen put two points up, with Nietzel and freshman Noah Deer each contributing one.

The Stags lost their lead in the second after letting in five-straight goals. Going into halftime the score was 6-4 with CMS trailing by two.

Refusing to give up, Cullen put two more goals up for the Stags in the third quarter. However the Air Force Academy put up three points and CMS was unable to close the gap. The quarter ended 9-6.

Freshman Graham Fullerton, sophomore Eric Bakar, and junior Daniel Cogan tried to help CMS recover with one goal each. The Stags won the quarter 3-2, but were unable to make an effective comeback. CMS came up short, and the game ended 11-9.

Cullen ended the game with four goals, and found the net ten times throughout the day. Nietzel, Deer, Fullerton, Bakar, and Cogan each contributed one against the Air Force Academy.

UCLA 13, CMS 7
Although never outscored by more than two in a quarter, the Bruins proved too much for the Stags in their first game Sunday morning. The final score was 13-7. At the end of the first quarter, CMS only trailed by one, with Cullen and Deer keeping the team in the game against the third-best team in the country.

UCLA started pulling away in the second quarter, outscoring CMS 3-1. Deer scored the sole Stag goal for the quarter, and CMS trailed 6-3 at halftime.

Cullen added two goals in the third quarter, but the Bruins outscored the Stags by one. This increased the UCLA lead, ending the quarter with CMS trailing 9-5.

The Stags continued to fight into the fourth quarter, with junior Adam Hilborn scoring his first goal of the game, and Deer finding the net for the third time. The Bruins put four more goals on the board, and held on to that lead to end the game 13-7.

Cullen and Deer had three goals each, with Hilborn putting up one goal to end the game.

Long Beach State 18, CMS 5
CMS ended the weekend against Long Beach State.  The Stags trailed the entire game, and LBSU continued to increase their lead with every quarter. The final score was 18-5. At the end of the first quarter, the score was 3-1. CMS held Long Beach to only three, and Hilborn found the back of the net to keep the Stags within two.

The Stags continued to fight in the second quarter, which was the closest of the whole game. Taylor kept the team alive with three goals to Long Beach's four. The close quarter brought the Stags to halftime trailing by three, at 7-4.

The third quarter proved difficult for CMS, with a Long Beach State six  goal streak followed by a lone goal by Bakar with less than a minute to go. Going into the fourth quarter the Stags trailed 13-5.

Long Beach scored five uncontested goals in the fourth quarter, solidifying their 18-5 win over CMS.

Over the weekend Cullen scored thirteen, followed by Taylor with five, Deer with four, Hilborn, Bakar, and Nietzel with two each, and Waggoner, Fullerton, and Cogan with one each.  

by Brittany Arneson
CMC Public Affairs Student Assistant