First wins for Stags at Inland Empire Classic

Alex Waggoner (Photo by Seth Sanchez)
Alex Waggoner (Photo by Seth Sanchez)

REDLANDS, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team earned its first wins of the 2016 campaign against Concordia (CA) and Redlands at the annual Inland Empire Classic hosted by the University of Redlands. On the weekend, the Stags were 2-2 overall with losses to two highly ranked DI institutions: Pepperdine and Long Beach State.

The leading scorer for CMS was senior Alex Waggoner (CMC) who netted 11 goals. His highest scoring came against Concordia with four goals for the team's first win. Defensively, returning senior Rye Newman (CMC) spent the majority of the minutes in the net for the Stags.

Game 1: Concordia (CA) 15-7 Win | Box Score

The Stags jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals by Waggoner in the first three minutes. CMS stretched out their lead to 5-1 by the end of the first quarter. CUI got within two at the half but then the Stags took off again and scored five times in the third quarter and four more in the fourth to maintain a commanding lead. With a minute left in the game, sophomore Eric Thvedt (CMC) scored for the first time this season to put CMS up 15-6. The Stags defense held Concordia to just three scores in the second half.

Coach Lonzo was proud of how the team controlled the pace of this first game of the tournament and set the tone for the day. The Stags will meet up with Concordia later in the season in the Gary Troyer Tournament in early October.

Game 2: Redlands 10-9 OT Win | Box Score

Inspired by their game one victory, CMS faced its first SCIAC opponent of the season in Redlands. The game stayed close through the first quarter but then the Stag defense and Newman shut out the Bulldogs in the second quarter. CMS' only goal in the third quarter was by senior Eric Bakar (CMC) to increase the lead to five goals (8-3). For the remainder of the game, UR out-scored CMS 6-1. Freshman Ethan Lewis (CMC) tied up the game at 9-9 in the final minute of regulation.

In overtime, the Stags defense stepped up and did not allow a goal. Senior Ellison Taylor (CMC) ultimately broke the stalemate and scored the game-winner for CMS with 21 seconds on the clock in the second overtime period. Taylor scored three goals in the game in bookend periods.

Redlands, who was the third place finisher in the SCIAC in 2015, also beat Occidental (16-4) and Pomona-Pitzer (13-11) over the weekend.

Game 3: Long Beach St. 17-5 Loss | Box Score

On the second day of the tournament, CMS came up against Long Beach State. The 49ers are currently 6-0 and maintained their No. 7 ranking from the Collegiate Water Polo preseason poll through the first week of competition. CMS mustered five goals during the game with Waggoner netting three and Bakar adding two.

The Stags had not played Beach since Sept. 14 2014 when they were the No. 5 ranked team.

Game 4: Pepperdine 26-4 Loss | Box Score

In the final game of the Inland Empire Classic, some fatigue crept into the Stags' play. CMS had faced No. 9 Pepperdine last week in the Triton Invite as well but in this week's meeting, the Waves scored at least six goals in each quarter and were relentless in their attacks. The four CMS goals were scored by junior Graham Fullerton (CMC), Bakar and Waggoner. Sophomore goalie Evan Pauletich (CMC) saw time in the net during the second half.

Up next for the Stags is the Aggie Invite at UC Davis Sept. 17 and 18 where they will face American River College, the host, UC Davis, University of the Pacific and California.

By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director

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