LA VERNE, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team went 1-1 in the first day of the Inland Empire Classic, earning its first win of the season in a thrilling comeback against Whittier College before falling to Cal Baptist University. In their first match, the Stags found themselves trailing 5-2 with 4:35 remaining in the third quarter. The Stags came back and scored five unanswered goals en route to a 7-6 victory to open the Inland Empire Classic. The freshman duo of Koss Klobucher (CMC) and Sean Pine (CMC) led the comeback for the Stags with a pair of goals over the final 12:35 of the contest. However, CMS did not muster the same magic against Division II Cal Baptist as the Lancers held the Stags to six goals in a 17-6 victory.
CMS def. Whittier 7-6
In addition to a pair of goals each from Klobucher and Pine, Nick Britt (CMC) also scored two goals of his own while Zack Rossman (CMC) scored once and had two assists in the victory. On the defensive end, Robert Driscoll (CMC) and Christian Thornton (CMC) co-led the team with three steals.
In goal, Evan Pauletich (CMC) made two saves for the Stags while CMS forced Whittier's goalie, Murat Ersoz, to make 11.
After an early goal by Tyler Fields from Whittier, Rossman and Britt answered back to give CMS it's first lead of the season. However, Carlos Heredia Viteri led the Poets on a run, scoring twice to retake the lead in the first period. The Poets continued to reel, adding two more goals in the second period while shutting the Stags out and opening the third period with two more goals.
Trailing 6-2 during the third period, the Stags needed to lock it down on the defensive end while figuring out how to score past the Poets defense. Klobucher manage to cut the lead in half with 4:35 remaining in the third and Pine scored two to close out the final period. After being held scoreless for half of the final period, Klobucher managed to break through after finishing a pass from Rossman to tie the game. With 2:44 left in the final period, Britt scored off a pass from Zack Rossman to give CMS the lead. The defense held on to secure the victory.
Cal Baptist def. CMS 17-6
The Division II side opened up the game with four straight goals until Klobucher managed to get the Stags on the board. However, Caleb Rogers continued to get the Lancers going, assisting Dominick Nevarez on a goal to close the first period and finding Matthew Diacono with an assist at the start of the second period to extend the Lancers' lead 6-1.
Klobucher and Graham Fullerton (CMC) scored back-to-back to cut the Lancers' lead in half, but Cal Baptist scored four straight goals, including two by Jonny Lotero, to close the half with a 10-3 lead.
Tilton got on board 30 seconds into the third period and found the net two and a half minutes later to cut the Lancers' lead 11-5. Cal Baptist did not relent and played tough defense on the Stags while going on another four-goal rally that extended into the final period. Zack Rossman scored the Stags' final goal of the match as Cal Baptist score two more to end the game.