CLAREMONT, Calif. - Freshman attack William Clark scored with just three seconds on the clock to break a 10-10 tie and give the No. 4 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Men's Water Polo team an 11-10 win over No. 2 Whitter on Saturday morning at Axelrood Pool in a battle of SCIAC unbeatens.
With the win, the Stags improve to 5-1 on the year and 4-0 in conference play, while the Poets suffer their first conference loss and slip to 2-1 in the SCIAC.
CMS thought it had taken an 11-10 lead moments earlier, but junior Zack Rossman had a goal disallowed with just over a minute remaining. On their next possession, the Stags took a quick shot to ensure a 2-for-1, and Whittier came the other way with a 10-second differential between shot clock and game clock. Sophomore utility Christian Thornton came up with a big steal to give the Stags possession, and draw an exclusion to give them a man advantage for their final possession.
The Stags worked the ball around the perimeter, and it ended up in the hands of Clark on the right side of the pool. The Whittier exclusion expired with six seconds left, but Clark patiently waited for his opening and ripped a shot into the upper left corner of the net with just three seconds showing to give CMS the dramatic win.
"I was just trying to improve my angle," said Clark of his patience before releasing the game-winner. "It's tough to beat the shot blocker when you're down to two meters, but they didn't close out, so I got the angle."
CMS trailed 5-4 at the half, but Nick Britt scored all three of his goals (which led the team) in the third to help stake CMS to an 8-7 lead heading into the fourth. Rossman came out and tied the score on the first possesion of the second half, and Britt gave CMS its first lead at 6-5. Whittier knotted it back up, but Britt scored again to make the score 7-6. After the Poets knotted it, Britt gave the Stags the lead for the third time off a Rossman feed to make it an 8-7 game heading into the fourth.
Whittier knotted the score again in the fourth, but sophomore center CJ Box scored off a Rossman feed to give the Stags a 9-8 lead with 4:31 to go. Whittier scored the next two goals to take a late lead, but Rossman scored a power play goal after Thornton drew an exclusion to tie it 10-10 with 1:18 to go.
Rossman finished with two goals and three assists for a team-high five points, while Clark had two goals and Robert Driscoll had three assists. The Stags' two freshman goalies came up big throughout the game with Matt Tran tallying seven saves in the first half and Noah Smith adding six in the second.
CMS will be back in action when it travels to La Verne on Wednesday at 4 p.m., before coming home to face Caltech at 7 p.m.