CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team twice came back from two-goal deficits to tie, but couldn't do it a third time as it dropped an 11-8 non-conference decision to Air Force on Sunday afternoon at Axelrood Pool.
The Stags fall to 15-9 on the season with the loss, after taking care of their important business on the weekend yesterday with two SCIAC wins over Caltech and La Verne to clinch a spot in the conference tournament. Air Force improves to 8-15 with the win.
Junior attack Zack Rossman led the Stags with a hat trick on the day, while five other players had a goal apiece.
The only lead of the game that CMS had was at 1-0 in the first, when Rossman scored the initial goal of the game. Air Force scored the final two goals of the first quarter, before freshman William Clark knotted it up early in the second.
The Falcons took their first two-goal lead on back-to-back goals to move ahead 4-2 with 1:52 left in the half, but the Stags struck on consecutive possessions to pull even, with Rossman scoring at 1:39 and junior Ethan Lewis finding the net at the 1:01 mark.
Air Force again went ahead by two goals at 6-4 in the second, and again the Stags rallied back to tie, with Rossman finishing off his hat trick to start the fourth after Charlie Thomson ended the third with a goal. However, the Falcons bounced right back with the next two goals before stretching the run to 3-0 and taking a 9-6 lead. Sophomore CJ Box and Christian Thornton got the Stags back within 9-7 and 10-8, but they could come no closer.
Matt Tran had seven first-half saves and four goals allowed for CMS, while James Burke had a strong day with 11 saves for the Falcons.
CMS closes out the regular season next Saturday when it hosts Pomona-Pitzer for a 7 p.m. match at Axelrood Pool before moving on to the SCIAC Tournament the following week. If the Stags stay in their current No. 2 spot in the league standings, they will earn the right to host one of two SCIAC semifinals.