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CMS Men's Water Polo Holds off Occidental for Key SCIAC Win

CLAREMONT, Calif. - In a game where neither team led by more than one goal until the closing minutes, the CMS men's water polo team was able to defend its home pool and come away with a tight 10-9 win over Occidental on Wednesday evening at Axelrood Pool.

The win was the fifth in a row for the Stags and improves their record to 12-9 overall and 7-3 in the SCIAC, which Occidental slips to 4-6 in the SCIAC, three games behind CMS with four to play. The one-goal was huge for the Stags in its pursuit of one of the four SCIAC Tournament bids, as CMS now has a three-game lead over the Tigers (and the tiebreaker), whereas a loss would have closed the margin to one. 

CMS took a 7-6 lead on a buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter from Will Clark, who led CMS offensively with three goals and three assists. After Occidental tied it at 7-7, Cristian Pang scored his first of the night to make it an 8-7 lead. 

Once again the Tigers drew even, and once again Clark was able to find the net to put CMS in front 9-8. Pang then scored on a lob shot with 2:58 to play, representing the first two-goal lead for either team all night. 

Occidental wasn't finished, though, as Keegan Klein scored just after a 6-on-5 ended to make it a 10-9 game with 1:30 to play. The Tigers killed off a CMS power play, and had two chances to tie it, but Noah Smith came up with a save coming out of a timeout with 40 seconds to go, and after CMS killed the shot clock and left Occidental with only 10 seconds and no timeouts, Smith was able to make a save on the final desperation attempt to seal the win. 

Len Korol also had a two-goal game for the Stags, while adding an assist for three points, while Kyle Ballack had three assists. CJ Box, Sam Harrison, and Gavin Rosser added goals, while Smith finished with nine saves. 

CMS will be back in action on Saturday when it travels across the street to face Pomona-Pitzer for an 11 a.m. contest.