CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team held the Whittier Poets scoreless over the final period on Thursday night, but could not complete the comeback. The Stags fell 8-7 in a gripping match in Axelrood Pool.
After Noah Deer (CMC) scored the matches' first goal, the Poets went on to take a 6-2 lead after 11 minutes of play. Facing an uphill battle, the Stags clawed their way back and early in the third period trimmed the lead to just one at 6-5.
Deer was a huge part of the comeback. The senior scored five goals in the match, including a five-meter shot with under a minute left in the first-half and the initial goal of the third period.
Whittier held an 8-6 lead heading to the final period after a pair of goals by Tim Aakhus in the third period. CMS halted the Poets' offense and did not allow a score by the visitors in the final nine-plus minutes of the match. Deer collected his fifth goal of the match with 1:51 to once again cut the deficit to just one.
After trading empty possessions, the Poets were content to hold the ball and waste clock with under a minute left. With the shot clock winding down, a shot by Whittier was saved by Ethan Lewis (CMC) with under 20 seconds remaining in regulation. The Stags had a chance to tie the match, but two late shots were saved in the final seconds and the Poets held on for the tight 8-7 victory.
Along with Deer's five goals, Robert Driscoll (CMC) finished with a pair of goals on three shots to pace the Stags' offense.
For Whittier, Tim Aakhus finished with five goals and Murat Ersoz made 12 saves in goal.
Of note, neither team scored a goal on a powerplay. The Stags went 0-7 while the Poets were 0-6 in man-up opportunities.
The Stags will take on Caltech in a Saturday morning match on the road at 11:00 a.m.