WHITTIER, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team fell by one goal for the second straight match as it dropped an 11-10 decision at Whittier on Wednesday evening.
CMS, which also fell 8-7 to Cal Lutheran on Saturday, now drops to 13-8 on the year and 8-3 in the SCIAC, putting it into a second-place tie with Whittier, which improved to 8-3 with the win. The 11-10 final also matched the same score that the Stags defeated the Poets by in the first meeting at Axelrood Pool, when freshman William Clark scored with three seconds left back on Sept. 29.
This time around, the Stags were hoping for similar luck beating the buzzer. After falling behind 11-9, due to a 4-0 Whittier run in the fourth quarter, sophomore Christian Thornton cut the deficit to 11-10 with 41 seconds left, and freshman goalie Noah Smith came up with a big save to give CMS one final chance. After calling a timeout, though, the Stags were whistled for an offensive foul and the Poets were able to kill off the remaning seconds.
The game had some back-and-fourth momentum swings, as the Poets jumped out to a 4-1 lead after the first quarter, only to see the Stags pull even at the half and take an 8-6 lead in the third on a goal from sophomore Barron Banta. Whittier scored the last goal of the third, but junior Ethan Lewis, who missed the last several matches with an injury, scored his third of the game to put CMS ahead 9-7 with 7:34 to go. However, Hans Zdolsek scored a pair of 6-on-5 goals to knot it back up, and the Poets extended their run to 4-0 on another tally with 4:55 left to take a two-goal lead, which held up until the final minute.
Junior Zack Rossman scored the first of his three goals to tie the score 1-1 early in the first quarter, but Whittier came back with three in a row to take a 4-1 lead after the first eight minutes. Lewis started the second quarter with a goal, and then sophomore Nick Britt and Thornton scored consecutive goals to tie it 4-4 with 2:50 left in the half. Whittier bounced back with a goal, but Rossman scored his second with 2:04 left in the half to tie it 5-5 heading into the break.
Rossman (pictured) finished off his hat trick to tie the score back up at 6-6 with 5:56 left in the third, and the Stags kept the momentum going with Lewis scoring his second and Banta adding one to make it 8-6 with 1:32 left in the third.
CMS will try to get back on the winning track when it travels to Caltech at 11 a.m. on Saturday, its first of two matches on the day, with the second coming at home against La Verne at 2:30 p.m.