CMS Men's Water Polo Drops Tight Battle with Pomona-Pitzer, Finishes Regular Season Tied for Second in SCIAC

CMS Men's Water Polo Drops Tight Battle with Pomona-Pitzer, Finishes Regular Season Tied for Second in SCIAC

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team gave a tight battle to SCIAC unbeaten Pomona-Pitzer but ended up on the short end of a 9-6 final score on Saturday evening at Axelrood Pool in the regular season finale for both teams.

With the loss, the Stags up in a tie for second in the final SCIAC regular season standings with Whittier at 10-4, while Pomona-Pitzer finishes the regular season at 14-0. CMS honored its lone senior prior to the match, attack Matt Daruty, as part of Senior Day. 

Junior Zack Rossman led the way for the Stags with two goals and two assists, while junior Ethan Lewis added two goals. Sophomores Barron Banta and Nick Britt had the other two goals for CMS, which had a tough time beating Pomona-Pitzer goalie James Kelbert, who had 16 saves. 

Rossman scored the only goal of the first quarter for either team to give CMS the 1-0 lead after the first eight minutes. Pomona-Pitzer scored the first two goals of the second quarter before Lewis tied it with his first goal of the night. The Sagehens forged ahead 4-2, but the Stags appeared to take some momentum into the break when freshman goalie Matt Tran threw a long outlet pass to Banta, who scored at the buzzer to make it a 4-3 game heading into the break. 

Pomona-Pitzer, though, tallied the first two goals of the third quarter to stretch the lead to 6-3 before Britt came back with one to close the deficit to 6-4. The Sagehens scored on a 6-on-5 with three seconds left in the third, and CMS couldn't get closer than two in the fourth, as Rossman and Lewis each scored their second. Lewis' second made it 8-6 with 4:27 left, but the Stags were unable to cut it to one, and Pomona-Pitzer tacked on an empty-netter with 14 seconds left to close out the scoring. 

The Stags will face Whittier on Friday in one of two SCIAC semifinals, after splitting the regular season series with the Poets, with each team winning 11-10 in its home pool. Pomona-Pitzer will host Cal Lutheran in the other semifinal, with the two winners meeting on Sunday at the higher seed's home pool.