CLAREMONT, Calif. - The CMS women's water polo team was nearly able to come away with a big home win over Cal Lutheran, which is ranked No. 2 in Division III, holding a 6-5 lead in the closing minutes, but the Regals were able to score two late goals to escape Axelrood Pool with a 7-6 win on Wednesday afternoon.
With the loss, CMS slips to 6-12 on the season and 4-4 in SCIAC, with the last three league losses (Whittier, at La Verne, Cal Lutheran) all coming by the same 7-6 score. Cal Lutheran moves to 16-7 overall and 9-1 in league play with the win.
The first time the two teams played in Thousand Oaks, the Regals controlled play throughout, taking an 11-4 win in the league opener for the Athenas. Cal Lutheran got off to a quick start again, putting CMS on its heels with two goals in the first 2:22 of the contest to take an early 2-0 lead, but the Athenas responded to go into the locker room at halftime with a 4-3 advantage.
Senior Krystal Sung got CMS going when she fired in a shot from the left side of the cage with 3:31 left in the first quarter, and junior Aracelia Aldrete scored with just 13 seconds left in the opening period to tie the score 2-2.
Cal Lutheran went ahead 3-2 with 5:49 left in the half, but the Athenas struck twice in the final 1:28 to take the lead into the break. Freshman Emily McElroy tied it with 1:28 left, and on the next possession, sophomore Chandlyr Denaro posted up in front and scored to give CMS the lead.
Aldrete answered a Cal Lutheran goal with 2:21 left in the third to give CMS a 5-4 lead heading into the fourth. The Regals again tied it, but sophomore Amelia Ayala found the net from the left side of the cage to give CMS a 6-5 advantage with 5:03 to go.
Ayala had the go-ahead goal late in a 10-9 comeback win over Chapman on Saturday, and it looked like her goal might hold up as the game-winner again this afternoon. However, Cal Lutheran's Mardell Ramirez found the upper-left corner coming out of a timeout with 1:06 remaining to tie it, and after a defensive stop, Lexi Rond posted up in front of the cage and scored with 23 seconds left to give the Regals their first lead of the second half.
CMS called timeout and had one final chance, but weren't able to get the ball in front and Aldrete's shot the point was saved by Bailey Meyer to seal the win.
Freshman Jessica Salaz had five saves and two steals for the Athenas, including a save on a penalty shot in the first half. Freshman Addi Duvall had four staeals, while senior Emma Choy had three. Rond was the only Regal with two goals, while five others had a goal.
CMS will be back in action on Saturday when it travels to Caltech before returning home to face Chapman on Monday night at 7, in a match that was rescheduled after it was postponed in February.