CMS Men's Water Polo Sees Win Streak Snapped in Upset Loss at La Verne

Will Clark had two goals and two assists in a losing effort at La Verne (photo by Daniel Addison)
Will Clark had two goals and two assists in a losing effort at La Verne (photo by Daniel Addison)

LA VERNE, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team battled back from an early 3-0 deficit to tie the score on three occasions, but never could take the lead as the Stags dropped a 10-9 road decision to La Verne on Wednesday, snapping a five-match win streak.

The loss drops CMS to 12-9 on the season and 7-2 in the SCIAC, falling into a second-place tie with Pomona-Pitzer, while Whittier leads the league at 8-0. La Verne improves to 4-6 in the SCIAC with the win, as well as 8-14 overall. 

After falling behind 4-0 in the first six minutes, CMS struck for four goals in the final two minutes of the first quarter to pull even. Junior Christian Thornton had two of the goals during the run, including the tying goal with 16 seconds left, while sophomore Will Clark and senior Ethan Lewis added the others. 

La Verne responded to the counter-punch with the first two goals of the second quarter, before senior Zack Rossman closed the gap to 6-5 heading into halftime, and then scored on the first possession of the second half to knot the score up 6-6. 

The Leopards answered back, but Lewis was able to tie the score up for the third time off a pass from Rossman with 2:00 left in the third. La Verne scored 11 seconds later to take the lead for good, and went ahead 9-7 with 45 seconds left in the third. 

The Leopards extended their lead to 10-7 with 6:45 left in the fourth before CMS tried one final comeback. Clark scored with 4:59 to go and junior CJ Box brought the Stags within 10-9 with 2:03 to go. Thornton had a shot saved, and CMS had one final chance when La Verne was called for an exclusion with 20 seconds left but the Stags were unable to convert as the Leopards held on for the win. 

Clark led CMS in points with two goals and two assists, while Rossman had two goals and an assist and Lewis and Thornton each had two goals. 

CMS will be back in action on Saturday when it hosts Chapman for an 11 a.m. contest at Axelrood Pool, the first of four straight home matches for the Stags.