CMS Women's Water Polo Gets Back Level in SCIAC with Road Win at Occidental

Amelia Ayala had three goals to lead CMS to a road win over Occidental
Amelia Ayala had three goals to lead CMS to a road win over Occidental

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's water polo team scored in the first minute of the game and never surrendered the lead as the Athenas moved back to .500 in SCIAC play with an 11-5 road win over Occidental on Wednesday afternoon at Taylor Pool.

With the win, the Athenas now stand at 5-11 overall and 3-3 in the SCIAC, while Occidental sees its record slip to 7-11 overall and 1-7 in league play. Junior Amelia Ayala led the way for the Athenas with three goals, while freshman Alex Szymczak had two goals and three assists, and senior Haley Gibbs and junior Celeste Cerna added two goals. Freshman goalie Jessica Salaz had six saves for CMS in goal to get the win. 

After Occidental won the opening sprint, CMS took the ball on its first possession and scored with Szymczak feeding sophomore center Chandlyr Denaro just 52 seconds into the game. Szymczak then scored her first goal with 5:11 remaining in the first quarter on a feed from fellow freshman Addi Duvall, to make it a 2-0 game. 

Ayala followed with her first goal 30 seconds later to push the CMS lead to 3-0, before the Tigers were able to get on the board on a 6-on-5 with 3:59 remaining in the first. However, senior Haley Gibbs answered that goal with one of her own with 22 seconds left in the quarter to give CMS a 4-1 lead after the first eight minutes. 

After Occidental pulled within 4-2, Szymczak and Ayala followed with their second goals of the half to make it a 6-2 lead heading into the half. Cerna came up with a big defensive play during the stretch, blocking a shot in the cage while freshman goalie Jessica Salaz was serving an exclusion to keep the Tigers from scoring on a goalie-less 6-on-5. 

Occidental was again the first team to score in the third quarter to get a little closer at 6-3, but Ayala completed her hat trick to answer back, and Duvall followed with a goal to give CMS an 8-3 advantage, with both goals assisted by Szymczak. Cerna then answered an Occidental goal to make it 9-4 CMS going into the fourth. Cerna and Gibbs each netting their second goals in the fourth quarter for the Athenas to close out the scoring. 

CMS will be back in action on Saturday when it travels to Chapman for an 11 a.m. contest.