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Len Korol had 6 goals for the Stags against Westcliff (photo by Thomas Walker)
Len Korol had 6 goals for the Stags against Westcliff (photo by Thomas Walker)

Stags Water Polo Closes Non-Conference Play with Split at Gary Troyer Tournament

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Len Korol had a career-high six goals as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team defeated Westcliff 17-13 in its first game of the day at the Gary Troyer Memorial Tournament on Saturday at Axelrood Pool.

The Stags, ranked No. 1 in Division III, followed up that performance with a strong effort against Pepperdine, ranked No. 4 in Division I, before falling 13-7. With the split, CMS is now 10-6 on the season, with all six losses coming to teams ranked in the top 12 in the national Division I poll (UC Davis, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, Pacific and Pepperdine). 

CMS had to battle to come away with the win against Westcliff, but finally prevailed 17-13 behind the six goals from Korol, as well as four goals and two assists from Cristian Pang and two goals from Kyle Ballack. Jake Taylor had 11 saves in goal.

CMS led 6-3 after the first quarter, and Westcliff kept fighting back, getting it down to one goal on four occasions. The last came at 11-10 with 3:43 left in the third, before a 4-0 CMS run gave the Stags the separation they needed. Korol started the run, which was followed by goals from Nick Kennedy, Pang and Netherton to make it a 15-10 game with 7:06 to go. 

Westcliff stopped the run with 4:34 to go, but Eli Schwarz answered on the ensuing possession. Hassen Hove closed out the scoring with 1:48 to make the score 17-13 and seal it for the Stags. 

In the nightcap against No. 4 Pepperdine, CMS hung in for a while, and had the lead down to just four in the fourth quarter. Korol scored his seventh goal of the day to make it 3-2 in the first, and a Ballack goal in the second quarter trimmed the Waves' lead to 5-3. 

Pepperdine was able to keep CMS off the scoreboard in the third as it built a 9-3 lead, but Luke (Bear) Weigle and Gavin Rosser scored on two straight possessions to close the gap to 9-5 with 6:48 to go. After Pepperdine scored to make it 10-5, Kennedy skimmed a low shot in to make it 10-6, but that was as close as CMS could come. Aidan Nettekoven finished with 11 saves for the Stags in the defeat. 

The Stags will be back in action on Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m., when they resume SCIAC play with a road game at Cal Lutheran