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Noah Smith finished with nine saves (photo by Caelyn Smith)
Noah Smith finished with nine saves (photo by Caelyn Smith)

No. 4 CMS Men's Water Polo Earns Huge Road Win over No. 2 Cal Lutheran

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Rob Driscoll had two goals and an assist in a key 2:30 stretch to close out the third quarter, and Noah Smith had nine saves in goal, as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team, ranked No. 4 in Division III, picked up a big 10-6 road win over No. 2 Cal Lutheran on Wednesday afternoon at Samuelson Aquatics Center. 

The win guarantees CMS a spot in the SCIAC Tournament at 8-4 in the SCIAC with two games left to play, as Occidental can now only tie the Stags at 8-6, but CMS would have the tiebreaker due to the head-to-head sweep. Cal Lutheran, meanwhile, suffered just its fourth loss of the season as it slipped to 18-4 overall and 9-2 in the SCIAC. 

CMS never trailed after starting out with a 2-0 lead, but Cal Lutheran kept battling back to within a goal, the last with 2:58 left in the third quarter to make it a 5-4 game. Driscoll answered right back with a goal, then fed Ben Weldon for a score with just over a minute left in the third, before closing out the frame with his second goal with five seconds left to give CMS an 8-4 lead heading into the fourth. 

Sam Harrison then scored with 5:56 remaining to extend the run to 4-0, and the lead to 9-4. Andrew Wraith added his second goal of the game on a 6-on-5 with 1:21 left for the fifth straight CMS goal, before Cal Lutheran ended the scoring run with two meaningless goals in the final minute to make it a 10-6 final. 

The first time the two teams met, CMS dug itself into an early 4-0 hole before coming back to force overtime, where the Kingsmen prevailed in sudden death. Len Korol made sure the ice was broken much sooner, putting the Stags ahead 1-0 at the 5:55 mark of the first quarter. Will Clark then pushed the lead to 2-0 just 31 seconds later, and Andrew Wraith answered a Kingsmen goal to make it a 3-1 game. Christian Thornton made it 4-2 with 52 seconds left in the quarter, before Cal Lutheran made it 4-3 with a power play goal on its final first-quarter possession. 

The second quarter saw both defenses settle in, as the Stags scored the only goal when CJ Box scored with 2:37 left in the half to make it a 5-3 lead at the break. Cal Lutheran broke a long scoreless drought with 2:58 left in the third quarter, but Driscoll answered back 22 seconds later to start the 5-0 run that put the game away. 

CMS will be back in action on Saturday at 7 p.m. when it hosts Redlands for Senior Day. The program's eight seniors (Noah Smith, Rob Driscoll, Eric Warmoth, Will Clark, Christian Thornton, Sam Harrison, Andrew Wraith, CJ Box) will be honored prior to the contest, who accounted for eight of the 10 goals this afternoon, including two from Driscoll and Wraith, as well as all nine saves from Smith.