Late Run Helps Pomona-Pitzer Pull Away from CMS Men's Water Polo
CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team started the second half with three straight goals to tie top-ranked Pomona-Pitzer 6-6, but Sam Sasaki had back-to-back goals to start a 5-0 run as Sagehens snapped the Stags' five-game win streak with a 12-8 win on Saturday at Haldeman Pool.
The loss drops CMS to 12-10 on the season and 7-4 in the SCIAC, still safely in the top four to earn a SCIAC Tournament berth, while Pomona-Pitzer remains undefeated in league play at 11-0, and moves to 18-7 overall.
The Stags took a 2-1 lead in the first quarter after goals from Sam Harrison and Rob Driscoll, but the Sagehens tied it 2-2 at the end of the first eight minutes, and then went ahead 5-2 in the second. Cristian Pang stopped the 4-0 run with a goal, but Pomona-Pitzer earned a penalty shot with five seconds left in the half to take a 6-3 lead into the break.
CMS came out hot in the second half, though, to pull back even at 6-6. Gavin Rosser started the run with a goal with 6:32 left in the third, and Christian Thornton found the net with 2:51 left to make it a one-goal game. Andrew Wraith converted a penalty shot to tie it with 1:55 left, but Sasaki answered back 15 seconds later, and then scored again on a 6-on-5 to make it 8-6 after three quarters.
Jack Mallery started the fourth quarter with a goal to push the lead back up to three, and the Sagehens stretched to five before Rosser ended the run with his second goal. Christian Thornton added his second for the Stags as well in the closing minutes. Kellen Grant had 13 saves in goal for Pomona-Pitzer, while Noah Smith finished with 10 for the Stags.
CMS will be back in action on Wednesday when it travels to Cal Lutheran for a 4 p.m. contest, and then returns home for its final regular season game at Axelrood Pool on Saturday at 7 p.m., when it takes on Redlands. The Redlands game will also be Senior Day for the program's eight seniors.