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Nick Kennedy had three goals and an assist (photo by Thomas Walker)
Nick Kennedy had three goals and an assist (photo by Thomas Walker)

CMS Men's Water Polo Pulls Away from Chapman 16-5 to Earn 20th Win

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team trailed Chapman 4-3 in the second quarter, but dominated from there as it captured a 16-5 win on Wednesday evening at Axelrood Pool.

The win was the 10th in a row for the top-ranked Stags, who improve to 20-6 overall and 11-0 in the SCIAC with the win, reaching the 20-win plateau for the first time since the 2015 won 21 games. Before that, the last time the Stags had reached 20 wins was way back in 1997. Chapman, which is ranked No. 4 in Division III, slips to 13-9 overall and 8-4 in the SCIAC, but will move on to the conference tournament, where it could meet CMS again next Friday in the semifinals. 

The Stags also clinched at least a share of the SCIAC title, leading Redlands by one game heading into the regular season finale at Redlands on Saturday. 

Nick Kennedy had three goals and an assist to lead CMS, while four other players had two goals apiece: William Thomas, Auggie Aliaga, Len Korol and Luke (Bear) Weigle. Aidan Nettekoven had eight saves and two steals, while allowing just one goal in the final 21:48 (and none after the first possession of the second half, a span of 15:41). 

Everett Prussak put Chapman ahead 4-3 with 5:48 left in the second quarter, but the lead lasted only 12 seconds as Gavin Rosser scored quickly off the next Stag possession. After CMS earned a stop, Kennedy put the Stags ahead to stay with his first goal with 4:55 left in the half. 

Donovan Davidson and Aliaga scored back-to-back goals, and Kennedy capped off the half with his second goal with just five seconds showing on the clock to give CMS an 8-4 lead at the break. 

Jack Griffith started the second half with a goal 19 seconds in, but Kennedy answered to finish off his hat trick with 5:18 left in the third, making the score 9-5, which was where it stood heading into the fourth. The Stags then dominated in the final stanza, scoring seven times without allowing goal as they pulled away for a dominant 16-5 win. 

CMS closed the game on a 12-1 run, after also having two dominant runs last week in SCIAC wins, taking an 11-1 lead into the half against Cal Lutheran (which ended 16-9), and scoring 17 straight goals to take a 19-1 lead at Occidental (which ended 22-5).  

CMS will be back in action on Saturday when it heads to Redlands for a game that will determine the top seed in the SCIAC Tournament. The Bulldogs can tie CMS for the regular season conference title with a win, and Redlands would have the tiebreaker should the two teams end up even, regardless of how its broken (either due to either a greater head-to-head goal differential, since the Stags won the first meeting by just one goal, or by winning the second of the two head-to-head contests).

Either way, CMS knows it will host a SCIAC Semifinal on Friday, Nov. 17, against either Pomona-Pitzer or Chapman.