CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team jumps into the pool on Saturday for their first two matches in the 2017 season. The Stags will travel to Los Angeles for a double-dip against University of Southern California and UCLA beginning at 10:20 a.m. Two weeks, and four matches later, the Stags will take a dip in Axelrood Pool for their first home match of the year against Caltech.
See below for a preview of the 2017 season:
A Look Back
A year ago the Stags finished the season with their eighth-straight appearance in the SCIAC Final. CMS fell short in the title match by a 7-4 final to next-door neighbor, Pomona-Pitzer. The Stags finished with a 16-16 overall record and an 8-3 mark in the SCIAC.
CMS graduated five student-athletes from last year's roster including a trio of All-SCIAC performers. Ellison Taylor (CMC), Rye Newman (CMC), and Alex Waggoner (CMC) each earned All-Conference nods after successful senior campaigns. Taylor earned his second-straight All-SCIAC honor with a First Team accolade last season. Newman and Waggoner were both named Second Team.
In addition to the senior trio, attacking junior Noah Deer (CMC) earned First Team All-SCIAC last season. Deer returns to Claremont for his senior season with the Stags and is the lone prior All-SCIAC athlete on the 2017 CMS roster. In addition to being named All-SCIAC, Deer was named First Team All-American last season after his 62 goal season. Taylor (First Team) and Waggoner (Second Team) were also named All-American with Deer.
In the Pool
With the graduation of Ryan Newman, the Stags are without their mainstay in goal. CMS will look to junior Evan Pauletich (CMC) to step-up between the pipes. Last year Pauletich spent some time in goal, making 33 saves on the season.
Offensively, the Stags graduated some of their top scorers from a year ago with 40-goal scores, Waggoner (46 goals), Bakar (41 goals), and Taylor (40 goals) off the roster. CMS does return the team's 2016 leading scorer with Noah Deer and his 54 goals back in the pool.
The Stags have four seniors on the roster this season. Along with Deer, CMS' senior class is made up of defender Graham Fullerton (CMC), center Arya Nakhjavani (CMC), and attacker Peter Tilton (CMC). As a class, these seniors bring a 28-5 SCIAC regular season record, including a 2015 SCIAC Championship, into their final year.
On the attacking end, Matt Daruty (CMC) is back for his sophomore campaign. In his rookie year, Daruty dished out 14 assists to finish in the top-25 in the SCIAC. Last season, Zack Rossman (CMC) and Ethan Lewis (CMC) finished in the top-25 in terms of goal scorers during SCIAC play with 11 and 10 goals, respectively.
Look for eight freshmen to infuse some youth into the 2017 version of the Stags while also competing for time in the pool.
What to Watch For
As mentioned the 2017 season beings this weekend with a pair of matches against final four teams from a year ago. The Stags will open the season at 10:20 a.m. against National Runner-Up Southern California, before squaring off with host, UCLA at 1:00 p.m.
After the Inland Empire Classic on Sept.9-10 the Stags will come home for their first matches in Axelrood Pool against Caltech and Riverside Community College on Sept. 16. The big event of the fall will be the Troyer Tournament that the Stags and cross-street rival, Pomona-Pitzer, co-host over the weekend of Oct. 6-7. The Troyer Tournament will feature matches against Connecticut College, Johns Hopkins, Air Force, and Concordia (CA).
Speaking of Pomona-Pitzer, the Stags will travel across sixth-street and take on the Sagehens on Sept. 27 at 7:00 p.m. Pomona-Pitzer will return the favor with a match in Axelrood Pool on Oct. 28 at 11:00 a.m.
On the Deck
Greg Lonzo is ready to begin his 11th season at the helm of the Stags for the 2017 season. Lonzo has led the Stags to three SCIAC Championships during his tenure, winning titles in 2010, 2012, and 2015. He holds an overall record of 150-149 including an impressive 77-28 mark in the SCIAC.
For the most up-to-date information, stats, news, schedules, highlights, and more visit CMSathletics.org throughout the season and follow the Stags and Athenas on social media.