Division I doubleheader ends in two losses for Athenas

Photo by Mitch Allan
Photo by Mitch Allan

CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's water polo team (6-12) hosted two Division I programs at Axelrood Pool on Wednesday night, but struggled to triumph in either match as the Athenas fells 11-9 against George Washington University (11-3) and 12-6 to Bucknell University (11-10). Junior Roxy Kiessling (CMC) was the star of the night, scoring eight total goals, including five against Bucknell while sophomore Claire Baxter (CMC) managed to three steals in each game.

The first match against George Washington was a physical affair that saw 19 total exclusions and two ejections. The Athenas looked to bully their way to force turnovers, but struggled to capitalize on the offensive end. The game started off as a back-and-forth affair as both teams traded goals in the first period.

The Colonials managed to break out to a respectable lead after scoring two goals to start the second period, but freshman Aracelia Aldrete (CMC) get one back off a power play with 4:14 left in the half. Junior Jessica Gaffney (CMC) launched a shot from the yellow area, but the goalie, Katherine Moeller, blocked the attempt. Kiessling lunged forward on the deflection and poked the ball into the back of the net to tie the game. However, with 18 seconds left, Ally Jochim found the back of the net after receiving a pass from Maggie Ball to take a 5-4 lead at the half.

George Washington opened up the third period with a power play goal shortly after Gaffney earned an exclusion, but the junior redeemed herself with a pass to sophomore Tess van Hulsen (CMC) to cut the lead 6-5. Gaffney tied the game with 29 seconds left after receiving a short pass from Kiessling in the center and throwing a quick shot past the keeper.

The Athenas struggled to capitalize on their opportunity to take the lead as the Colonials took two goals back to make it 8-6. The teams traded goals as CMS tried to find momentum, and a penalty goal from Jacqueline Bywater with a minute left seemingly sealed the victory for the Colonials.

Box score vs. GW

The Athenas came out with a chip on their shoulder against Bucknell, but their physical play was not enough to contain the well-tuned Bison offense. With the game tied at one apiece in the first period, Colleen Barron sparked a 3-0 run to give the Bison a 4-1 lead.

CMS tried to utilize plenty of ball movement to open up the offense, but Marta Considine and Emily Konishi disrupted the Athenas' offense with timely steals and pass deflections. The Bison continued to run their offense off turnovers and quick ball movement and jumped to a 12-3 lead heading into the final period.

Gaffney woke up the Athenas' offense with a goal to start the fourth quarter. She found Kiessling swimming ahead of her defenders with a long pass to hand her fourth goal of the night. With 5:38 left in the game, van Hulsen delivered a beautiful lob pass over several Bison defenders to Kiessling and the junior quickly converted the opportunity to cut the lead 12-6, but the deficit was too large for the Athenas to overcome.

"It was disappointing how this game panned out," said Head Coach Greg Lonzo. "I wish the intensity our team brought in the fourth period was there in the three before. By that time, we dug ourselves into a big hole."

Box score vs. Bucknell

The Athenas return to the pool to open up SCIAC competition this weeked as CMS hosts La Verne Saturday, March 18 at 11 a.m.

By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant

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