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Kyle Ballack had one of the five goals for CMS against USC (photo by Tessa Guerra)
Kyle Ballack had one of the five goals for CMS against USC (photo by Tessa Guerra)

CMS Men's Water Polo Hangs Tough in Losses to USC, UC Irvine

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo had a challenging Sunday schedule at the Inland Empire Classic, facing No. 2 USC and No. 13 UC Irvine, but the Stags responded with some strong moments in a pair of defeats.

USC came away with a 16-5 win over CMS, although the Stags were able to put up a strong defensive effort to keep the Trojans under 20, outscoring USC 2-1 in the fourth quarter. UC Irvine, meanwhile, prevailed 13-6 over the Stags, who fell to 3-5 with the two losses, although four of the losses are to Division I teams (Air Force, Long Beach State, USC, UC Irvine). 

Christian Thornton scored twice for CMS against USC, while Kyle Ballack, Andrew Wraith and Len Korol added goals. Will Clark and Rob Driscoll each scored twice for the Stags against UC Irvine, while Korol had a goal and an assist, and Ben Weldon added a goal. 

Clark scored his second goal early in the fourth quarter to cut the UC Irvine lead to 10-6 and give the Stags a glimmer of hope for a possible late comeback, but the Anteaters responded to the challenge with three straight goals to close out the game. 

USC took a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter, after which the Stags hung in for an extended time with the No. 2 team in the nation, with the spread just 9-6 over the final 23 minutes. Korol broke the ice for CMS with 6:55 left in the second, and Wraith scored to end the half and Thornton scored to begin the second half to make it a 9-3 game, before USC had its second 7-0 run of the contest. 

CMS will be back in action when it opens SCIAC play on Saturday, facing Caltech at 11 a.m. and Pomona-Pitzer at 7 p.m. at Axelrood Pool.