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Nick Kennedy had a team-high four assists on the day (photo by Eva Fernandez)

CMS Men's Water Polo Continues Solid Start Against Top Division I Teams

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team slipped to 3-4 on the young season with a pair of losses on Sunday at the Inland Empire Classic, but all four losses have been to top-12 Division I teams, including today's defeats to No. 11 UC Santa Barbara (17-6) and No. 12 UC San Diego (15-11) at Axelrood Pool.

CMS continued to show some strong play against a tough schedule, including taking a second half lead against UC San Diego after being tied 6-6 at the half. 

Cristian Pang, who led CMS with four goals and two assists, had a hat trick in the first quarter alone, although the Tritons scored with one second left to take a 5-4 lead into the second. 

Kyle Ballack and Luke (Bear) Weigle each scored goals to start the second quarter and put CMS ahead 6-5 before the Tritons were able to pull even at the break. Pang then started the second half with a goal to put the Stags in front 7-6.

UC San Diego scored the next three goals, but Nick Kennedy answered for the Stags to close it to 9-8 with 1:39 left in the third. Aidan Nettekoven (13 saves) then stopped a penalty shot, but the Tritons scored on their final possession of the quarter to make it a 10-8 game heading into the fourth, and then opened the final frame with three more goals in a row to pull away.

Hassen Hove had two goals for the Stags, while Kennedy had three assists, and Weigle drew four exclusions. 

Against UC Santa Barbara, Weigle opened the scoring, but the Gauchos answered with five straight to make it a 5-1 game. CMS then went toe-to-toe for a while, and was down just 10-5 in the final minute of the third, before UC Santa Barbara was able to pull away in the fourth with six unanswered. 

Weigle had a hat trick for CMS, while Kennedy and Eli Schwarz each had a goal and assist. 

The Stags return to action in two weeks at the CSU Fullerton Invitational, facing Air Force, Biola, Austin and the host Titans.