Stags Top Bulldogs, Claim Spot in SCIAC Tournament

photo credit: Mitch Allan
photo credit: Mitch Allan

CLAREMONT, Calif. – In a must win game for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team on Wednesday night, the Stags turned in one of their finest performances of the season to beat the Redlands Bulldogs 11-8. Seven different Stags scored in the team effort victory.

Zack Rossman (CMC) scored four goals to lead the CMS offense while Ethan Lewis (CMC) made five saves and collected three steals to help the Stags into the conference tournament.

The victory breaks a tie with the Bulldogs for the final playoff spot. CMS now holds an 8-5 record in the SCIAC while the Bulldogs own a 7-6 mark. Despite each team playing their final regular season game on Saturday, CMS holds the tiebreaker over the Bulldogs. Regardless of Saturday's results, the Stags will qualify for the conference tournament.

After a goal from the Bulldogs opened the scoring on Wednesday night, the Stags responded with three-straight goals to take a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period. Koss Klobucher (CMC) scored just 25 seconds after the Bulldogs' goal to tie the match at 1-1.

Just moments later Ethan Lewis came up big in goal with a save on a 5-meter shot. That save set the tone for the Stags as Robert Driscoll (CMC) connected on an attempt from deep to make it a 2-1 game with 2:50 remaining in the opening period. Barron Banta (CMC) ripped a shot from the left side to the near post with less than a minute remaining and the Stags held a 3-1 lead heading into the second period.

However, that lead was quickly erased with a pair of goals from Redlands in the first 3:30 of the second-quarter. Two goals in a man-up opportunities from Driscoll and Rossman gave CMS the lead back at 5-3. Following a Redlands' goal, CJ Box (CMC) tucked a shot inside the near post with 29 seconds remaining in the half. A stop from the CMS defense ended the half and gave the Stags a 6-4 lead heading into the break.

Following the half, CMS broke things open with a five goal third period. Rossman netted three goals in the third period all by himself while Peter Tilton (CMC) and Christian Thornton (CMC) added a goal each for good measure. Following the big period, CMS held an 11-6 lead heading to the final quarter.

The Stags were held scoreless over the final eight minutes, but that did little to dampen the fine effort on the evening. The 11-8 victory pushes CMS to 13-14 on the season and 8-5 in the conference.

CMS will wrap up the regular season on Saturday morning when they travel to Cal Lutheran at 11:00 a.m. Check for early next week for more information on the SCIAC Tournament which begins next Friday (Nov. 17).