CMS Women's Water Polo Comes up Just Short in Defensive Battle at Pomona-Pitzer

Amelia Ayala's goal brought CMS within 5-4, but the Athenas couldn't come all the way back
Amelia Ayala's goal brought CMS within 5-4, but the Athenas couldn't come all the way back

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's water polo team cut three-goal deficits down to one twice, but couldn't come all the way back as the Athenas dropped a 6-4 road decision to Pomona-Pitzer on Wednesday night at Haldeman Pool.

With the loss, CMS slips to 3-5 on the season and 1-1 in the SCIAC, while the Sagehens improve to 4-6 overall and 2-0 in the conference. 

The Athenas began the game with an extended two-minute long possession that left them unable to break the ice, as Haley Crabtree made three saves on four CMS shot attempts. The drought would continue into the second quarter as the Sagehens built a 3-0 lead, before senior Aracelia Aldrete got the Athenas on the board with a shot from just outside the five-meter line as a Pomona-Pitzer 6-on-5 expired. 

The score would remain 3-1 into the third quarter, when first-year Christina Kulick scored on a 6-on-5 to get the Athenas back within a single goal with 4:40 left in the third, but the Sagehens answered right back and ended up taking a 5-2 lead into the fourth. 

CMS got back in it again, though, as Pomona-Pitzer was called for an exclusion on an Athena counter, and Kulick fed the ball ahead to sophomore Alex Szymczak, who converted a breakaway to make it a 5-3 game with 5:55 to go. Junior Amelia Ayala then had a steal on one end, and scored off a feed from Kulick at the other to bring CMS back within 5-4. 

The Athenas had one possession to try to tie it, after Aldrete had a steal, but they were called for an offensive foul. Pomona-Pitzer took advantage of a CMS exclusion at the other end with Lucie Abele scoring in front on an entry pass to push the lead to 6-4 with 3:59 left, and CMS was unable to get it back down to one the rest of the way. 

Kulick had a hand in all of the CMS goals with one goal and three assists. Sophomore Maddie Menard and junior Anna Fry each led the team with three steals, while sophomore goalie Jessica Salaz had four saves. 

CMS will be back in action this weekend when it serves as one of the hosts of the Claremont Convergence on Friday and Saturday. CMS will open play against UC Santa Barbara on Friday at 12:30 p.m., before facing Sonoma State at 4:15 p.m., and then facing California Baptist and Villanova on Saturday.