No Raining on this Parade! Athenas Top Nova and Somona State

Jessica Gaffney's goal with three seconds left gave CMS the 7-6 victory. (photo credit: Alisha Alexander)
Jessica Gaffney's goal with three seconds left gave CMS the 7-6 victory. (photo credit: Alisha Alexander)

CLAREMONT, Calif. – On a cool and rainy Day One of the 2018 Convergence Tournament, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's water polo team came away with a pair of exhilarating one-goal victories. First, the Athenas defeated Sonoma State 7-6 on a buzzer beating goal from Jessica Gaffney (CMC) before topping Villanova 12-11 in overtime. Roxy Kiessling (CMC) led the Athenas with five goals on the day and Chandlyr Denaro (CMC) made 13 saves to earn the win in both contests.

Game One - CMS defeats Sonoma State 7-6

With three seconds left in the fourth period, Jessica Gaffney broke a 6-6 tie with a shot from distance to give the Athenas a 7-6 victory against the Sonoma St. women's water polo team. A total of six different Athenas found the back of the net with Claire Baxter (CMC) leading the offense with two goals.

In goal, Denaro made six saves in a strong defensive effort for CMS.

The Seawolves got on the board with a pair of quick goals in the opening period. Somona St. took a 2-0 lead after just two and a half minutes before the Athenas scored three-straight goals to take their first lead of the game toward the end of the first period.

Claire Baxter scored exactly three minutes into the game to get the Athenas on the board and cut the Seawolves' lead in half. Over the next three minutes and change, Amelia Ayala (CMC) and Kiessling each connected to put the Athenas on top 3-2 at the end of the first period.

After the Athenas took the 3-2 the two sides traded nearly every other goal for the rest of the contest.

The Seawolves tied the game just over a minute into the second period, but Aracelia Aldrete (CMC) responded for CMS with a goal off a pass from Baxter to put CMS up 4-3. Sonoma St. turned around and scored 30 seconds later to tie the game at 4-4 with 5:09 remaining in the half. The pace of the game slowed down dramatically after the Seawolves tied it up at 4-4.

Neither team scored in the final 5:09 of the half and the game remained tied heading to the break.

The scoreless streak continued for the first half of the third period until Cassidy Mundt scored for Somona St. with 3:41 remaining in the period. Now trailing by one, Krystal Sung (CMC) answered almost immediately with an unassisted goal to tie the game at 5-5.

With 2:45 remaining in the period the Seawolves took a lead after a goal from JoJo Williams. Claire Baxter leveled the score just over a minute into the fourth period with a tally before the offenses went quiet for nearly seven minutes.

The game remained tied into the final minute after strong defensive efforts from the Athenas and Seawolves during the middle of the period. With 13 seconds remaining, the Athenas called timeout to set up a final attempt to win the game in regulation. Jessica Gaffney lined up a shot from distance just off to the left side of the cage. Her strike beat the keeper and put the Athenas on top with three seconds left. A last second heave from Sonoma St. was turned away and CMS earned the 7-6 victory.

Game Two - CMS defeats Villanova 12-11

In the nightcap of their doubleheader, the Athenas battled the Villanova Wildcats and earned their second one-goal win of the day, 12-11 in overtime. Kiessling led the offensive attack with four goals while Gaffney added three.

CMS and the Wildcats matched each other nearly shot-for-shot, tied after the first and second quarters. The Athenas took a slim, 9-8 lead into the fourth period but overtime was eventually forced. CMS scored two goals in the first of two overtime periods and held the Wildcats to just one in the final extra period to secure their fifth win of the season.

Kiessling got the party started three minutes into the opening period. Villanova answered back two minutes later with a goal at the 3:23 mark to tie the game 1-1. The two teams traded goals for the remainder of the period and the game was tied 4-4 at the end of the first quarter.

The Wildcats struck first to open the second period. Kiessling evened the match with her third goal of the game just seconds later. She unleashed a shot to the bottom left corner of the goal with seven minutes left in the half to tie the game at 5-5. In goal, Denaro had a big second quarter for the Athenas, making a number of huge saves. With just over four minutes left in the half, the goal keeper made back-to-back saves less than a minute apart to keep the Athenas in the game. The first half ended with Wildcats and Athenas tied at seven.

The third period saw a much more defensive focus from both teams. The Athenas and Wildcats were held scoreless for the first four minutes of the quarter. Kiessling broke the scoreless stretch by finding the back of the net after grabbing the rebound from a shot off the crossbar with 3:44 remaining. After Villanova evened the score just over a minute later, Gaffney scored on a pass from Kiessling to give CMS a 9-8 lead heading into the fourth.

Villanova opened the scoring in the fourth with their ninth goal of the contest. CMS quickly retaliated with a goal from Ayala with 5:55 remaining to give the Athenas a 10-9 advantage. The two teams battled throughout the quarter to a 10-10 tie at the end of regulation.

Gaffney beat the Villanova keeper to her left less than a minute into the first three-minute overtime period. Denaro made a huge save with 1:32 to go to keep the Athenas in front. Aldrete gave the Athenas some insurance with a goal to put CMS up 12-10.

The Wildcats struck for a goal early in the second overtime period, but the CMS defense stepped up to shutdown Villanova for the remainder of the game to earn the 12-11. Anna Fry (HMC) stole the ball as the clock wound down, stopping Villanova right in front of the Athenas' goal to secure the one-goal victory.

Denaro made seven saves in goal, earning her second win of the day.

The Athenas continue in the Convergence Tournament tomorrow when they face UC San Diego at 11:40 a.m.