Fourth-Quarter Comeback Gives CMS Men's Water Polo 8-7 Win over California Baptist

Koss Klobucher winds up for the game-winning goal against California Baptist (photo by Daniel Addison)
Koss Klobucher winds up for the game-winning goal against California Baptist (photo by Daniel Addison)

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team scored the final three goals of the game to rally from a late 7-5 deficit to capture an 8-7 win over California Baptist on Saturday afternoon on the second day of the Gary Troyer Memorial Tournament at Axelrood Pool.

CMS also fell 19-10 to No. 8 Pepperdine in its second match of the day to split at the Troyer, going 2-2 at the two-day event to move to 7-8 on the season. 

With a top-10 team looming in its nightcap, the first match of the day was the one where the Stags needed to try to pick up a win and they succeeded with a late rally. After Christian Britton put the Lancers ahead 7-5 with 6:42 to go, senior Ethan Lewis converted an important goal 26 seconds later off a feed from fellow senior Zack Rossman to get CMS back within 7-6. 

Lewis then scored again on a shot from mid-pool just before the shot clock expired to level the score up at 7-7 with 5:16 to play. The Stags kept the momentum going and found their go-ahead goal with 2:44 to play, with junior Koss Klobucher scoring from the right side of the cage to put CMS in front for the first time since an early 2-0 advantage. 

Junior Christian Thornton and Lewis scored the first two goals of the game for the Stags, before the Lancers came back with the next three to take a 3-2 lead in the second quarter. Sophomore Will Clark answered with a goal with 2:44 left to tie the score at 3-3, before the Lancers took a lead with 49 seconds left in the half and then scored 13 seconds into the second half to take a 5-3 lead. 

Junior CJ box and Klobucher had two straight goals to tie it at 5-5, but Nick Johnson gave Cal Baptist a 6-5 lead on a goal with just three seconds left in the third quarter. 

Noah Smith had seven saves in goal to get the win for CMS, while Clark had three assists to go along with his goal. 

The nightcap saw Thornton score two first-quarter goals to give CMS leads of 1-0 and 2-1 against No. 8 Pepperdine, but the Waves eventually got rolling behind Marko Asic, who finished with six goals on the day. Asic had three goals in a row to turn a 7-3 Pepperdine lead in the second quarter into a 10-3 advantage at the break. 

Thornton scored two more goals in the second half to finish with four for the Stags, while first-year Kyle Ballack scored twice. Rossman, Clark, sophomore Sam Harrison and sophomore Andrew Wraith each had goals for CMS as well. 

The Stags will return to action on Wednesday night for a big road contest against Pomona-Pitzer, beginning at 7 p.m.