Amelia Ayala Leads the Way as CMS Women's Water Polo Comes Back for 10-9 Win over Chapman

Amelia Ayala had a huge day with five goals in a 10-9 comeback win over Chapman
Amelia Ayala had a huge day with five goals in a 10-9 comeback win over Chapman

ORANGE, Calif. - Sophomore Amelia Ayala scored five goals, including four in a 5-0 run in the fourth quarter to turn an 8-5 deficit into a 10-8 lead, as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's water polo team took a big SCIAC road win over Chapman 10-9 on Saturday morning at the Allred Aquatics Center.

With the win, CMS moves over .500 in league play at 4-3, tying the Athenas in the loss column for fourth place in the SCIAC standings (top four teams advance to the SCIAC Tournament). Chapman slips to 8-12 overall and 2-6 in conference. 

The Athenas trailed 8-5 heading into the fourth quarter, but scored five unanswered goals to take the lead. Ayala got the run started with 6:30 to play to pull CMS within 8-6, and junior Aracelia Aldrete scored with 4:40 left to make it a one-goal game. 

Freshman Maddy Menard had a steal and freshman goalie Jessica Salaz had a save to keep the score 8-7, until Chapman was whistled for a five-meter penalty. Ayala took the shot, and buried it into the net to get CMS back level at 8-8. 

On the very next possession, Ayala again found the net with 2:42 to go to put CMS ahead for the first time. After Emily Whitney hit the post for Chapman, Ayala capped off a personal 3-0 run with 1:08 to go to make it a 10-8 CMS lead. 

Mia Chanove scored for Chapman with 36 seconds left to cut the lead to 10-9, but CMS was able to kill almost the entire clock before the Panthers got the ball back with just one second left. They called a timeout to try to set up a miracle finish, but CMS was able to defend it and hold on for the one-goal win.

Chapman started quickly, taking a 2-0 lead before freshman Alex Szymczak got the Athenas on the board on a 6-on-5 with 4:36 left in the first quarter. Ayala answered a Chapman goal to make it 3-2, but Audrey Hattori scored for the Panthers with 12 seconds left to extend the lead to 4-2 heading into the second quarter. 

Sophomore center Chandlyr Denaro scored twice in the second quarter to tie the score at 4-4, but Hattori scored with just one second left to give the Panthers a 5-4 lead at the break. Sophomore Anna Fry had the only goal in the third for the Athenas, as Chapman took an 8-5 lead into the fourth, before CMS mounted its comeback. 

The Athenas will be back in action on Wednesday when they host Cal Lutheran in a key SCIAC matchup at 4 p.m.