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Len Korol was one of three Stags with two goals (photo by Tessa Guerra)
Len Korol was one of three Stags with two goals (photo by Tessa Guerra)

CMS Men's Water Polo Drops Heartbreaker in Sudden Death to Cal Lutheran

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team never led in regulation, and nearly came away with the comeback win by taking a two-goal lead in overtime, but Cal Lutheran rallied back to force the game into sudden death and took a 12-11 win at Axelrood Pool on Wednesday afternoon.

With the loss, CMS slips to 4-7 on the year and 2-2 in the SCIAC, while the Kingsmen continue their hot start, improving to 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the league. 

Cal Lutheran jumped out to a 4-0 lead early, and the Stags chipped away at it, but didn't pull even until late in the game, when CJ Box scored his second straight goal to make it 8-8. Cal Lutheran took the lead back, but Cristian Pang converted a lob shot with just under two minutes left to play to tie it 9-9, which is where it remained heading into overtime. 

In the extra session, Sam Harrison scored to give CMS its first lead of the night in the first session, and Rob Driscoll scored from a sharp angle to give the Stags an 11-9 lead early in the second session. The Kingsmen answered right back on the next play to cut it to one, and then tied the score with 25 seconds left to send it into sudden death. 

In the first sudden death, CMS had five shots to win, with Will Clark coming the closest when his shot was saved off the crossbar and stayed out. Noah Smith made a big save to keep the game tied at 11-11 before going to another extra session, but the Kingsmen finally broke through when Ben Brown's shot hit off both posts, and just barely crossed the line to make it a 12-11 final with 2:06 left in the fourth overtime. 

Pang, Box and Len Korol each had two goals for CMS, while Smith finished with 11 saves. Rivas had 15 saves for Cal Lutheran to get the win. 

CMS will be back in action on Friday and Saturday when it co-hosts the Gary Troyer Memorial Tournament, facing off against Navy, Johns Hopkins, California Baptist and Pepperdine over the two-day event.