CMS Men's Water Polo Defeats Augustana 12-4 to Advance to National Championship Match
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - Cristian Pang and Nick Kennedy each had two goals and two assists as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team broke the game open and took a 12-4 win over Augustana in the USA Water Polo Division III semifinals on Saturday.
With the win, CMS improves to 23-7 on the year and will move on to tomorrow's national championship match at 10 a.m. (Pacific time) against Redlands, which defeated MIT in the other semifinals 15-6.
Auggie Aliaga had two goals and an assist and Gavin Rosser added two goals for the Stags, who will be making their third appearance in the USA Water Polo Division III championship game in the four-history of the tournament. CMS lost a tight 5-3 decision to Whittier in the inaugural tournament in 2019, and then after a one-year hiatus due to COVID, fell in overtime in the 2021 finals.
Augustana kept it close for most of the first quarter, but Kennedy was able to beat the buzzer to give CMS a 4-2 lead heading into the second quarter. That triggered a 5-0 run, as Rosser scored his second and Aliaga scored back-to-back goals to stretch the lead to 7-2, before Luke (Bear) Weigle finished off the spurt with a goal.
Augustana ended the run with a goal just before the half, but CMS had all four third-quarter goals to pull away. Pang scored both of his around a Kennedy penalty shot, and Ivey Gehring gave CMS a 12-3 lead heading into the fourth with a power play goal.
Aidan Nettekoven had eight saves and five steals, and allowed only three goals for the Stags to get the win in the cage.
CMS will face Redlands for the national title tomorrow in the fourth meeting this year between the two programs. Both regular season meetings resulted in one-goal wins for the home team, with Kennedy breaking an 8-8 tie with two seconds left to win the game at Axelrood Pool, and Redlands winning in sudden death in the regular season finale 12-11. The third meeting came in the SCIAC Championship, which CMS won 9-4, and they will hope to pick up their third win over the Bulldogs tomorrow and hold the first-place trophy in its third appearance in the finals.