Men's Water Polo Starts SCIAC Tournament With Sagehens

Men's Water Polo Starts SCIAC Tournament With Sagehens

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team ended the 2017 regular season in dramatic fashion to earn a spot in the SCIAC Tournament. CMS needed to win its final four games of the season to claim the four seed in the upcoming Conference Tournament.

The Stags will make the short walk across the street to take on top-seeded Pomona-Pitzer at 7:00 p.m. in Haldeman Pool. In the other SCIAC Semifinal, the Whittier Poets will host the Chapman Panthers at 7:00 p.m. The winners of the two Semifinal matches will square off on Sunday of the highest remaining seed for the SCIAC Championship.

See below for a snapshot of the teams in the tournament:

No. 4 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags - 14-14, 9-5 SCIAC

How we got here: After losing four of its final five games in the month of October, the Stags won its next four contests to close out the regular season and clinch the fourth seed in the SCIAC Tournament with a 9-5 record in SCIAC play. The Stags downed Occidental, 15-11, La Verne, 12-7, Redlands, 11-8, and Cal Lutheran, 10-5 to secure its playoff appearance against their Sixth Street rival Pomona-Pitzer. The match against Redlands ultimately became a play-in game for the final seed in the Tournament. In that match, CMS used a huge third period to claim the victory, thanks in large part to Zack Rossman (CMC), who connected for four goals. The Stags won the match 11-8 and earned a spot in the playoffs.

All-SCIAC Players:

Noah Deer - Sr. - First Team All-SCIAC - 57 goals, three assists, .460 shooting percentage
Zack Rossman - So. - First Team All-SCIAC - 55 goals, 18 assists, 35 steals
Peter Tilton - Sr. - Second Team All-SCIAC - 20 goals, 18 assists, 19 steals

No. 1 Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens - 22-10, 13-1 SCIAC

How they got here: Pomona-Pitzer enters the SCIAC postseason having won five straight games, including an 8-4 win over Chapman, and a 16-6 victory over Caltech on the final day of the regular season. Against the Panthers, Adam Ward and Jacob Niskey fired in two goals each, while Riley Mangan, Zach Senator, Dylan Eliott and Adam Gross scored one goal each. Daniel Diemer turned away nine shots in the winning effort to help seal the Sagehens' top seed in the tournament. Pomona-Pitzer's lone conference loss of the regular season came at the hands of Whittier on Sept. 20, as the Poets edged the Sagehens, 7-6 in overtime.

All-SCIAC Players:

Daniel Diemer - Sr. - First Team All-SCIAC, SCIAC Athlete of the Year, 210 saves
Adam Ward - Jr. - First Team All-SCIAC, 43 goals
Joseph Schafer - So. - Second Team All-SCIAC, 38 goals
Jacbo Niskey - So. - Second Team All-SCIAC, 30 goals

When they met: The Stags and Sagehens have met two times already this season. Pomona-Pitzer swept the previous two meetings by scores of 11-5 (Sept. 27) and 6-5 (Oct. 28). In those two meetings only Zack Rossman and Noah Deer collected goals in both contests. For the Sagehens, Riley Mangan collected four total goals including three on Sept. 27.

No. 2 Whittier Poets - 16-11, 12-2 SCIAC

How they got here: Whittier has won five of its last six games entering the 2017 SCIAC Tournament. After falling to Redlands, 10-8 on Nov. 4, the Poets defeated Chapman, 12-9 and Cal Lutheran, 11-10 in overtime to close out the regular season and secure the second seed in the tournament. Against the Kingsmen, Hans Zdolsek scored three goals, including two in the overtime period to help Whittier clinch a tournament home game. Tim Aakhus also scored three goals, while Carlos Heredia Viteri found the back of the net four time to help seal the win over Cal Lutheran. Murat Ersoz made 14 saves in goal. Whittier's only other conference loss was a 10-9 setback to Pomona-Pitzer on Oct. 21.

All-SCIAC Players:

Murat Ersoz - So. - First Team All-SCIAC, 191 saves
Carlos Heredia Viteri     - Fr. - First Team All-SCIAC, SCIAC Newcomer of the Year, 58 goals
Hans Zdolsek - Fr. - Second Team All-SCIAC, 46 goals
Tim Aakhus - Sr. - Second Team All-SCIAC, 38 goals, 16 saves

When they met: The Poets and Stags have split a pair of meetings this season with each team winning a one-goal contest. In the Inland Empire Classic, CMS scored a 7-6 victory on Sept. 9 in a non-conference match. Later in the season on Oct. 19, the Poets took an 8-7 victory in the Stags' home pool. In their second meeting, Noah Deer paced the offense with five goals to keep the Stags in the match.

No. 3 Chapman Panthers - 14-13, 10-4 SCIAC

How they got here: Chapman takes to the water as the third seed and is 2-2 in its last four contests. The Panthers defeated Cal Lutheran, 8-7 (Nov. 1) and Caltech, 18-9 (Nov. 8), while falling to Whittier, 12-9 (Nov. 4) and Pomona-Pitzer, 8-4 (Nov. 11) during that stretch. Against the Poets, Brady Hoskins led Chapman with three goals, while Hayden Reider added a pair of scores. Cameron Genetti, Hunter Ramaekers, Jeff O'Brien, and Kevin Dayan added one goal each, while Wesley Hertel made 11 saves between the posts. The Panthers enter conference tournament play after posting a 10-4 mark against SCIAC competition during the regular season.

Players to watch:

Jeff O'Brien - Sr. - First Team All-SCIAC, 76 goals, 20 assists
Kevin Dayan - Jr. - Second Team All-SCIAC, 59 goals, 37 assists

When they met: The Panthers and Stags have only met once this season with Chapman taking a 12-9 decision in overtime. Playing at Chapman, the Panthers scored three goals in the second overtime period to top CMS. Hunter Ramaeker scored two goals in overtime and three goals in the game to earn the win. For CMS, Zack Rossman scored five goals to lead the offensive effort.

Please note: Portions of this article have been borrowed from the SCIAC Preview Article.