Kyle Ballack scored on the first possession of the 2021 season
Kyle Ballack scored on the first possession of the 2021 season

Men's Water Polo Splits on Opening Day at Air Force

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Kyle Ballack had a pair of goals in the season opener for the CMS men's water polo team, but Air Force was able to break open a close game early and take a 15-7 win over the Stags on Saturday afternoon at the Rare Air Challenge.

CMS bounced back to win the nightcap over McKendree 10-5, behind three goals from Will Clark and three from CJ Box. The Stags were tied 2-2 at the end of the first quarter, but outscored McKendree 4-1 in the second quarter to take control.

CMS trailed just 5-4 after the first quarter, after Sam Harrison and Ballack each scored goals to get the Stags back in after Air Force had scored four straight goals to take a 5-2 lead. Ballack scored on the first possession of the season to put CMS up 1-0, and Box scored on the second Stag possession to make it 2-1. 

Ben Weldon scored a goal in the second quarter to keep CMS within 7-5 with 1:53 left, but the Falcons' grant Snyder scored twice 16 seconds apart to help Air Force pull ahead 9-5 at the break. 

The Falcons added the first three goals of the second half before Christian Thornton scored to pull CMS within 12-6, and Cristian Pang added a goal to start the fourth quarter to make it 12-7, before the Falcons closed on a 3-0 run. 

Noah Smith had 10 saves and four steals in goal for CMS.

The Stags will be back in action on day two of the Rare Air Challenge tomorrow, when they take on Cal Lutheran in the morning and Ottawa (Ariz.) in the afternoon. 

Note: full stats from the McKendree match on Saturday not presently available.