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Noah Smith makes one of his 25 saves on the day (photo by Tessa Guerra)
Noah Smith makes one of his 25 saves on the day (photo by Tessa Guerra)

CMS Men's Water Polo Defeats Concordia to Earn First-Day Split of Inland Empire Classic

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Noah Smith had 17 saves on defense and Sam Harrison had four goals on offense to lead the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team to an 11-8 win over Concordia in its first match of the Inland Empire Classic on Saturday morning at Axelrood Pool.

The Stags dropped their second match of the day to Long Beach State 13-5, despite a hat trick from first-year Len Korol, as they move to 3-3 so far on the season. 

Smith was particularly big in a 5-0 run for the Stags that covered over 16 minutes of playing time, during which he made nine saves without allowing a goal. After the Eagles tied the score 3-3 with 3:35 left in the first quarter, they did not score again until 1:45 left in the third, which cut the lead to 8-4. 

Concordia pulled within 9-7 in the fourth quarter with 4:07 left to play as things started to feel a bit nervy, but Ben Weldon settled things down with a key goal with 1:55 to play. Jeff Runyan answered for Concordia with 1:10 left, but Harrison scored his fourth into an empty net with 24 seconds left to seal the win. 

Will Clark finished with a team-high five points on three goals and two assists, and Kyle Ballack and Christian Thornton each had a goal and an assist. Smith also had four steals to go along with his 17 saves. 

CMS stayed close with Long Beach State for a half, before its offense ran dry after intermission. Korol had back-to-back goals to cut a 5-2 Beach lead down to one with 2:46 left in the half, before the 49ers answered with 31 seconds left to take a 6-4 lead into the break. The second half saw Long Beach State stretch it to a 6-0 run and make it an 11-4 lead, before Korol scored the only goal of the second half for CMS on the first possession of the fourth quarter. 

Andrew Wraith added a goal and an assist for CMS, while Smith added eight more saves, giving him 25 on the day, as well as four more steals. 

CMS will be back in action tomorrow on the second day of the Inland Empire Classic, taking on USC at 11:30 and UC Irvine at 2:40.