CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team enters the 2016 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championships as the No. 3 seed, but is still statistically vying for the conference title. CMS (6-2) faces the No. 6 seed, Occidental (2-3), in the opening matchup on Friday, Nov. 18 at 11:45 a.m.
The SCIAC Championships will be held at Pasadena City College (directions) with 14 games spanning three days: Nov. 18-20. All games will live streamed and admission will be charged: $10 general admission, $5 military and seniors, and free for students with ID and children under 12.
All four of the top seeds in this year's tournament are competing for the conference title. Each team gets one point per win during the regular season and then the winner of the Championships earns 10 points toward their overall score.
Head coach Greg Lonzo notes, "This will be an interesting tournament because so many teams are still competing for the championship. But, experience is on our side." CMS has been in the SCIAC championship game in each of the past seven seasons and won it three times.
Last season, the Stags ran the table in conference competition. They went undefeated in the SCIAC regular season and then 3-0 in the Championships to earn the automatic qualification to the play-in game for the NCAA Tournament.
This season, CMS' only two losses came at the hands of two top seeds: No. 1 Pomona-Pitzer and No. 2 Whittier. In the middle of the conference season, the Stags put together a four-game winning streak, beating Cal Lutheran, Occidental, Chapman and Redlands and out-scored their opponents 47-36.
The Stags are led by a cohort of experienced upperclassmen with three of the top scorers as seniors: Ellison Taylor (CMC), Eric Bakar (CMC), and Alex Waggoner (CMC). Junior Noah Deer (CMC) tops the team at 18 goals in conference play and 54 overall. In the cage, senior Rye Newman (CMC) has been instrumental in the Stags' success as CMS has allowed just 72 goals in contrast to the 90 the Stags have scored.
"These seniors know what it's like to play for a championship so the team will follow their lead this weekend," said Lonzo. He also added that this is the first time the whole squad has been healthy since the first weekend of competition back in September.
Occidental is led by Will Kim at 19 goals against SCIAC opponents and goalie Adam Florsheim, who leads the conference in saves.
By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director
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