Nick Britt's Clutch Goal Seals Comeback Over Concordia (CA)

Photo Credit Mitch Allan
Photo Credit Mitch Allan

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Gary Troyer Tournament ended on a positive note for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team as the Stags upset Division II Concordia University in a 12-11 comeback thriller on Saturday night to close the weekend. Including the 17-3 loss to Air Force earlier in the afternoon, the Stags finish the weekend 2-2 and sit 8-9 overall.

Air Force def. CMS 17-3

Box Score 

The Stags did not get off to a great start in the second of the Gary Troyer Tournament as Air Force Academy delivered a 17-3 victory over the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team. The Falcons played solid defense throughout the afternoon, denying the Stags clean opportunities near the net. The Stags almost took as many shots as the Falcons, taking 31 to their opponent's 34, but they could not convert on their six powerplay opportunities. 

First year CJ Box (CMC) scored two goals and Zack Rossman (CMC) added one and nabbed two steals while Ethan Lewis (CMC) recorded six saves at goal. Justin Harrison had a big day, scoring four goals for Air Force while Michael Miller added three. 

The two teams battled hard on the defensive end, not allowing one another to find an open shot at goal. However, with three minutes left in the first, Harrison finally broke the deadlock. The Stags answered back with 1:47 remaining in the period when Box found the equalizer. Jack Empey found the net 30 seconds later on a powerplay thanks to a pass from edward Smet, but Rossman levelled the game again with 45 seconds remaining. With the clock winding down to eight seconds, Reagan Pittman found Miller near goal to take the lead back for the Falcons 3-2. 

The Falcons reeled on a 3-0 run and shutout the Stags in the second period. In the third period, they opened up with two more goals until Box broke the drought with 4:15 left to cut the deficit 8-3. The Falcons closed the third period with a 3-0 to extend their lead 11-3. 

The match was well out of reach for CMS as the Falcons went on a 6-0 run and shutout the Stags in the final period to close the match. 

CMS def. Concordia (CA) 12-11

Box Score

Trailing 5-1 against the Concordia Eagles in the first period, the Stags unleashed an incredible comeback, including a 4-0 run in the final period to claim the 12-11 upset over the Division II program.

The Stags outshot the Eagles 40 to 24 and managed to beat their opponents on all four opening sprints. On the defensive end, the Stags collected more steals, swiping 16 while Concordia had 5. 

Rossman and Charlie Thomson (CMC) co-led the Stags with three goals each while Robert Driscoll (CMC) netted twice and notched an assist and four steals. Lewis had a strong performance at the net, collecting eight saves and six steals. 

In the first period, Rossman scored the opening goal just a minute in, but the Eagles responded with a huge 5-0 run, including a powerplay goal from Jake Snyder with 12 seconds left, to take a sizable lead. 

Arya Nakhjavani (CMC) cut the drought just 15 seconds into the second period, but Nick Walker put one back for Concordia more than a minute later to extend the lead 6-2. Peter Tilton (CMC) and Thomson scored back-to-back to put the game within reach and the two teams traded goals until the end of the half as Concordia led 8-6. 

The third period was a defensive battle as both sides were held to a goal each. Jake Snyder tried to pad the Eagles' lead with a goal halfway through the period on a powerplay. The Eagles did a great job keeping the Stags quiet throughout the third period, but first year Barron Banta (CMC) broke the silence with 33 seconds left. Driscoll found Banta near the net and the first year skipped a shot past the keeper to cut the Eagles' lead 9-7. 

Less than a minute into the final period, the Eagles took advantage over Driscoll's exclusion and scored on the powerplay. With 4:55 remaining, Driscoll returned the favor after scoring an assisted goal, courtesy of Peter Tilton (CMC), on a powerplay. Spencer Hosch extended the Eagles' lead 11-8 with 4:37 left in the match, but Rossman made sure the Stags were not going to finish Saturday night empty-handed. Just 11 seconds later, Tilton earned his second assist of the night after finding Rossman near the post as the sophomore converted his opportunity. With 2:02 winding down on the clock, Thomson combined with Britt to bring CMS within one. Just 33 seconds later, Rossman came through with a steal on the defensive end and hurled an outlet pass to the racing Thomson. Thomson capitalized on the fastbreak to tie the game at 11 apiece. 

With 49 seconds left in the match, first year Nick Britt (CMC) emerged as the hero with the game-winning goal. The Eagles desperately looked to send the game in overtime, but Lewis came through with the timely save to seal the match for CMS.

The Stags will hit the road to face Redlands on Wednesday, October 11 at 7:00 p.m.