CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's water polo team overcame a slow start offensively to tie the score 5-5 in the fourth quarter, but Whittier responded with back-to-back goals and held on for a 7-6 win over the Athenas on Thursday evening at Axelrood Pool.
With the loss, CMS slips to 4-9 overall on the year and 2-2 in the SCIAC, while Whittier improves to 9-6 overall and 3-1 in league play.
The Athenas dug themselves an early 3-0 hole and did not get on the scoreboard until just 1:42 was left in the half. Freshman goalie Jessica Salaz threw a long outlet pass up the right side of the pool to freshman Addi Duvall, and Duvall was able to swim in and beat Whittier goalie Lauren Tapia (13 saves) to close the deficit to 3-1.
Whittier, though, would score with just four seconds left in the half to take a 4-1 lead into the break, after the Poets also scored with one second left in the first quarter as well.
Junior Aracelia Aldrete opened the second half scoring for CMS with a goal 1:13 into the third quarter to pull the Athenas within 4-2, ripping in a shot just after a 6-on-5 expired. That goal was answered by Teresa Marchetti for Whittier, but CMS scored three straight goals to get back on level terms midway through the fourth.
Ayala started the run with 1:42 left in the third when she beat the shot clock from long distance. Midway through the fourth, sophomore Anna Fry pulled CMS within one when she flipped a quick shot in on a transition opportunity to catch Tapia off guard.
WWP: Back within 5-4! Fry with a transition goal with 4:25 left. pic.twitter.com/tYEMTLy8Bt— CMS Athletics (@AthleticsCMS) March 15, 2019
After earning a stop, the Athenas fed the ball in to center Chandlyr Denaro, who turned and fired a shot into the left side of the net to make the score 5-5 with 3:30 remaining, bringing CMS all the way back from its three-goal deficit.
Whittier, though, would come back with goals on its next two possessions to seize control down the stretch. Sawyer Bellville scored in front with 2:57 left, and after CMS was called for an exclusion in its own end of the pool, Marchetti leaked out and scored an insurance goal with 2:04 to go to make the score 7-5.
That goal would prove to be the difference, as Aldrete scored her second goal with just 17 seconds left for the Athenas, but Whittier was able to swim out the clock and hold on for the one-goal win.
Salaz finished with eight saves and three steals to help keep CMS close, while Ayala and Fry each added two steals as well. Bellville led all scorers for Whittier with three goals, while Tapia came up big in goal with her 13 saves.
CMS will be back in action on Saturday when it travels to La Verne for another SCIAC contest, beginning at 11 a.m.