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Nick Kennedy scored with just two seconds left to win it (photo by Thomas Walker)
Nick Kennedy scored with just two seconds left to win it (photo by Thomas Walker)

Kennedy's Goal Gives No. 1 CMS Men's Water Polo 9-8 Win over No. 2 Redlands

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Nick Kennedy scored with two seconds left to break an 8-8 tie and give the top-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team a dramatic 9-8 win over No. 2 Redlands on Wednesday evening at Axelrood Pool.

With the win, CMS moves to 13-6 overall on the season and 4-0 in the SCIAC, while Redlands suffers its first conference defeat, slipping to 12-6 overall and 3-1 in the SCIAC with the loss. 

Kennedy finished with four goals and an assist for the Stags, which built a 5-1 lead after the first quarter but had to fight off a Redlands comeback that saw the Bulldogs pull even in the fourth quarter at 7-7 and 8-8.

The 8-8 tie came on a goal with 18 seconds left from Spencer Sellwood. The Stags then called timeout and pulled goalie Aidan Nettekoven for an extra attacker, holding the ball until the final shot. CMS was in the exact same situation at Cal Lutheran last week, when Auggie Aliaga scored with one second left. This time, he held the ball until a Redlands defender slid his way, and then passed laterally to Kennedy, who fired a shot inside the right post for the game-winner. 

Kyle Ballack opened the scoring for CMS, but was answered right back by a goal from Dean Moody of Redlands. Kennedy then scored two in a row to put the Stags up 3-1, Aliaga struck to make it 4-1, and Len Korol finished off the first quarter with a goal to make it 5-1 CMS. 

Redlands scored the only goal of the second quarter to make it 5-2 heading into the break and then opened the second-half scoring before Aliaga netted his second to make it 6-3. Korol answered a Redlands goal with his second to make it 7-4, before the Bulldogs scored three in a row to tie it 7-7 with 4:07 left on a Moody goal. 

Nettekoven had a key save of a penalty shot in the fourth, and Kennedy converted one at the other end with 3:47 left to give CMS the lead back, and the score remained unchanged until the final 20 seconds, when Sellwood and Kennedy exchanged goals, giving CMS the win. 

Nettekoven finished with eight saves and three steals for CMS. while Gavin Rosser also had three steals. 

The Stags will be back in action on Saturday when it travels to La Verne for an 11 a.m. contest.