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Cristian Pang led CMS with 53 goals (photo by Stella Cheng)
Cristian Pang led CMS with 53 goals (photo by Stella Cheng)

CMS Men's Water Polo Defeats Air Force, Biola at Fullerton Invitational

FULLERTON, Calif. - Nick Kennedy had a hat trick as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team earned a 10-8 win over Air Force in its first of two games at the CSU Fullerton Invitational on Friday, while Cristian Pang had four goals to help the Stags to a 16-11 win over Biola in the nightcap.

CMS improves to 5-4 on the year with the two wins, with all four losses coming against Division I teams ranked in the top 12 in the nation. Air Force began the year ranked No. 19, and is currently receiving votes in the latest poll released on Wednesday. 

Eight different players scored for CMS in the 10-8 win over Air Force, with Kennedy being the only player to register a multi-goal game. 

The Stags trailed 7-6 late in the third, before a 4-0 run gave them control. William Thomas tied it with 1:15 to go in the third, and Kyle Ballack gave CMS the lead for good with nine seconds left in the third quarter to make it an 8-7 Stag lead heading into the fourth. 

Luke (Bear) Weigle gave CMS an insurance goal with 5:40 to play, and Kennedy capped off his hat trick with 2:31 to go. Air Force got one goal back on its next possession, but CMS was able to hang on for the win. 

Eli Schwarz, Auggie Aliaga, Gavin Rosser, and Ivey Gehring added goals for the Stags, while Aidan Nettekoven had six saves.  

In the nightcap, CMS built an 8-4 lead on Biola at the half, and held off the Eagles in the second half to take the 15-11 win. After Biola got back within 8-6, Ballack and Aliaga scored to put CMS back ahead by four. 

The Eagles came back with a 3-0 run to close to within a single goal at 10-9, but Pang beat the third quarter buzzer to make it 11-9 and give the Stags some momentum back. Kennedy stretched the lead to 12-9, and after Biola answered back to close to 12-10, Ballack scored twice around a Pang goal to give CMS its largest lead at 15-10.  

Kennedy had two goals and two assists in the nightcap, while Aliaga had two goals, and Weigle and Jeffrey Koretz each added one. Schwarz, Thomas and Jack Bryant each had two assists. 

CMS completes play at CSU Fullerton tomorrow, taking on Austin College and the host Titans to close out the two-day tournament.