CMS Men's Water Polo Defeats Concordia, Scores Nine Goals in Defeat to No. 1 USC

Christian Thornton had two goals for the Stags against top-ranked USC (photo by Daniel Addison)
Christian Thornton had two goals for the Stags against top-ranked USC (photo by Daniel Addison)

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team defeated Concordia Irvine 12-9 in its first match of the day, and then had a solid effort against No. 1 USC before falling 21-9 at the Inland Empire Classic, held at Axelrood Pool on Saturday.

With the split, CMS moves to 2-4 on the season, with all four losses coming to teams ranked in the national top 20, including two in the top 10 (No. 1 USC and No. 9 UC San Diego).

Sophomore Will Clark had a strong opening game for the Stags against Concordia, tallying four goals and three assists, while senior Zack Rossman had two goals and three assists and junior Nick Britt had two goals and an assist. Sophomore goalie Noah Smith also came through with a big effort, tallying 13 saves to get the win in net. 

CMS led 8-6 at the half behind a first-half hat trick from Clark, and took a 9-6 lead early in the third when Rossman scored off a Clark feed. However, the Eagles were able to get back into the game with two straight goals to close the gap to 9-8 with 4:30 left in the third. Clark stopped the momentum, though, with his fourth goal of the contest 25 seconds later, and the score stayed 10-8 heading into the fourth. 

The Stags earned a five-meter opportunity less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, and Rossman converted for a key insurance goal to make the score 11-8. Britt then effectively sealed the win with his second goal with 4:12 left to give CMS its largest lead at 12-8, before the Eagles scored the last goal of the contest. 

In the USC contest, CMS hung tough with the No. 1 Trojans for awhile, before eventually USC was able to create separation. Junior CJ Box scored the first goal for the Stags to close the gap to 2-1 in the first quarter, and junior Christian Thornton answered a Trojan goal to make it a 3-2 game with 3:00 left in the first. |

USC scored the final two goals of the first quarter and the first two of the second to make it a 7-2 lead, but CMS scored twice 22 seconds apart, with senior Ethan Lewis finding the net from in close, and then Britt finishing a the 5:25 mark to make the score 7-4. Rossman stopped a 3-0 USC run to make the score 10-5, but the Trojans scored four times in the closing minutes of the half to take a 14-5 lead into intermission. 

CMS kept clicking offensively against the No. 1 defense in the second half, as Lewis, Rossman and Thornton all picked up their second goals of the game in the third quarter, while Britt added his second goal in the fourth, but USC had too much firepower offensively and went on to the 21-9 win. Marin Dasic led USC with four goals, while Jacob Mercep added three. 

The Stags will conclude play at the Inland Empire Classic tomorrow when they travel to La Verne to face games against Fresno Pacific (9 a.m.) and UC Santa Barbara (12 p.m.).