CMS Men's Water Polo Advances to National Championship Match with 15-10 Semifinal Win

CLAREMONT, Calif. - CJ Box scored three goals and five other Stags scored two apiece as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team defeated Johns Hopkins 15-10 in the USA Water Polo Division III Semifinals on Saturday at Pomona-Pitzer's Haldeman Pool.

The win sets up a Sixth Street battle for the national championship, as Pomona-Pitzer won its semifinal over MIT. The Stags and Sagehens will play tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Haldeman Pool to see who is crowned the second-ever winner of the USA Water Polo Division III Championship, after Whittier edged CMS 5-3 for the title in the inaugural year of the tournament in 2019. 

Tickets for the championship match are $12, but the first 100 CMS students to attend will get in free.

The Stags needed some time to pull away from Johns Hopkins in a higher scoring game than the first time the teams met in October, when CMS earned a 9-3 win. The Blue Jays converted a penalty shot with 6:18 left in the third quarter to close to within 7-5, but Box responded with 5:14 left in the third to restore the three-goal lead. 

Cristian Pang followed with his second goal at the 3:55 mark to put CMS ahead 9-5, before Isaac Thorman answered right back for Johns Hopkins 20 seconds later. Rob Driscoll scored his second goal to push the lead to 10-6 at the 2:51 mark, and Sam Harrison and William Thomas each added goals to close out the period and put the Stags in command up 12-6. 

Pang and Thomas each scored their second goals in the fourth quarter to push the lead to 15-8 before the Blue Jays finished off with two goals to make it a 15-10 final score. 

Len Korol also had two goals for CMS, joining Driscoll, Harrison, Thomas and Pang in the two-goal club, while Will Clark and Ben Weldon added goals. 

CMS will be meeting Pomona-Pitzer for the fourth time this season, with the first three having almost identical scores (11-8, 12-8, 12-8). The Stags led 6-5 in the fourth quarter of the SCIAC Championship two weeks ago, before the Sagehens went on a 5-0 run to earn the league title.