On to the Postseason! CMS Men's Water Polo Clinches SCIAC Tournament Bid with Two Narrow Wins

On to the Postseason! CMS Men's Water Polo Clinches SCIAC Tournament Bid with Two Narrow Wins

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team guaranteed itself a spot in the SCIAC Tournament with a pair of league wins on Saturday, taking a 12-10 decision at Caltech and then returning home in the afternoon to defeat La Verne by the same 12-10 score.

With the two victories, CMS now stands at 15-8 overall and 10-3 in the SCIAC with one league match to play at Pomona-Pitzer. The Stags moved ahead of Whittier for second place after the Poets fell to Pomona-Pitzer this afternoon, and if CMS can stay in second place, it will host a SCIAC semifinal in 10 days. 

In the morning match, the Stags had a difficult time shaking Caltech, after they seemed to be on their way to an easy win early. CMS jumped out to a 5-1 lead after the first quarter behind five different goal scorers, but the Beavers came back to close within just 8-6 at the break. 

The Stags again appeared ready to take control to start the second half, as junior Zack Rossman, sophomore Eric Weiner, and sophomore Christian Thornton scored consecutively to make it an 11-6 lead. Caltech was awarded a penalty shot 28 seconds later, though, and that triggered a 4-0 run that brought the Beavers back to within 11-10 in the fourth quarter. 

The score hovered at 11-10, as freshman goalie Noah Smith came up with a couple of key saves to prevent the Beavers from equalizing, and Charlie Thomson finally scored a key goal on a 6-on-5 off a pass from freshman William Clark with 1:52 left to make it a 12-10 lead and give CMS some breathing room down the stretch.  A Smith save and a steal from sophomore Barron Banta helped seal it. 

Freshman Eric Warmoth (pictured) and Rossman each had two goals and an assist, while Clark had a goal and three assists for the Stags. Thornton also finished with two goals for the match. 

In the nightcap at Axelrood Pool, junior Ethan Lewis scored four goals and had an assist, while Thomson, sophomore CJ Box and sophomore Koss Klobucher each added two. Matt Tran had eight saves in the first half. 

After leading 8-5 at intermission, CMS saw its lead slip away as Rex Sample scored for the Leopards with 3:00 left in the third quarter to tie the score 9-9. Klobucher put CMS back in front with a goal with 1:55 left in the third, and Thomson found the net off a Thornton pass with 28 seconds left in the third to give CMS an 11-9 lead going into the fourth. 

Lewis scored his fourth of the game to put the Stags back ahead by three at 12-9 with 6:48 to go, and the Leopards could manage just one more tally with 3:10 left to make the final score 12-10. 

CMS will be back in action tomorrow when it faces Air Force at 12 noon, before closing out the regular season next Saturday at home against Pomona-Pitzer at 7 p.m.