PASADENA, Calif. – In the eighth consecutive appearance in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships Final, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team came up short against the strong Pomona-Pitzer team for the 7-4 final score. The Stags wrap up their season for a second place finish in SCIAC standings at 14 points (six for regular season wins, eight for 2nd place in the tournament).
CMS had the opportunity to play for a championship came on the back of two excellent wins earlier in the weekend over Occidental in the first round and then the narrow victory over Whittier on Saturday. "This season has been such a roller coaster and I'm so proud of these guys for pulling together this weekend and putting ourselves in the situation to win the conference," said head coach Greg Lonzo.
Pomona-Pitzer got on the board early with two quick goals by Adam Ward. The Stags scored twice in the first period when juniors Peter Tilton (CMC) and Noah Deer (CMC) combined for the third time in the tournament and then junior Graham Fullerton (CMC) was assisted by senior Eric Bakar (CMC) in CMS' final possession.
The Sagehens took the 5-2 lead going into halftime as Zach Senator came up with a steal and swam with the ball for the length of the pool and made an unassisted goal with 5:13 on the clock. The Stags were held scoreless in the period.
Coming into the second half, seniors Alex Waggoner (CMC) and Ellison Taylor (CMC) connected for the only goal scored in the period by either team. In the play, Taylor blocked a shot from a counter attack by the Hens and then tossed to Waggoner for a counter attack of their own. Later in the period, senior Rye Newman (CMC) made a big save on a breakaway shot by PP's Mark Hallman. Newman ultimately made 11 saves in the game.
CMS only trailed by two goals going into the final stanza and cut Pomona-Pitzer's lead to one with another goal from Deer. This was Deer's 62nd goal on the year as the Stags' leading scorer. CMS got consecutive possessions late in the period and Taylor put in a goal that was called back for being inside the two meter zone. The Sagehens notched two additional goals to take the game beyond reach for CMS, leading to the 7-4 final score.
After the game, coach Lonzo was extremely complimentary of the competition in the game and noted, "It was a great finish to a career for these seniors. They showed their true grit and character tonight."
CMS finishes at 16-16 overall and graduates four CMC seniors and one Harvey Mudd senior.
By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director
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