Szymczak, Kulick Lead CMS to 14-6 Win over Villanova to Close Out Claremont Convergence

Christina Kulick netted four goals in a 14-6 CMS win
Christina Kulick netted four goals in a 14-6 CMS win

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Sophomore Alez Szymczak and first-year Christina Kulick each had four goals as the CMS women's water polo team closed out the Claremont Convergence with an impressive 14-6 win over Villanova on Saturday afternoon at Axelrood Pool.

Earlier in the day, CMS dropped a 10-2 decision to California Baptist, but the Athenas were able to bounce back to end the tournament on a winning note. With the split, CMS now stands at 4-8 on the young season against a difficult schedule that also included UC Santa Barbara and Sonoma State yesterday on the first day of the Convergence. 

Szymczak gave CMS some momentum with a goal with just three seconds left in the half on a 6-on-5 opportunity, breaking a 4-4 tie and putting the Athenas ahead 5-4 heading into the break. That momentum carried over as CMS dominated the second half, outscoring Villanova 9-2, with one of the two Wildcat goals coming in the final minute after the game had long since been decided. 

The Athenas quickly built on the momentum in the second half, forcing Villanova to dump the ball on three of its first four second-half possessions. At the other end, junior defender Anna Fry scored the first goal of the second half for CMS, which was followed by the third from Szymczak and the second from Kulick to make it a 4-0 CMS run and an 8-4 Athena lead with 3:56 left in the third quarter. 

Villanova temporarily stopped the run with a 6-on-5 goal from Emily Morrisey, but CMS responded to that goal with a 5-0 run to take a 13-5 lead. Sophomore Emily McElroy started the run 25 seconds after Morrisey's goal to restore a four-goal lead at 9-5, which is where the score stood at the end of the third frame. 

CMS then pulled away in the fourth, using its depth to wear down the Wildcats. Kulick had her third and fourth goals sandwiched around one from senior Aracelia Aldrete, while Szymczak added her fourth with 1:05 left. Villabove scored with 36 seconds remaining, but the Athenas tacked on one more on their final possession, with first-year Isabel Dhillon scoring off a feed from Natalie Clark

Sophomore Jessica Salaz had seven saves and two steals to get the win in goal, while Kulick led all players with four steals for CMS. 

In the first game of the day, CMS couldn't unlock the California Baptist defense in the first half, falling behind 6-0 at the break. Junior Amelia Ayala scored twice in the second half to account for the CMS offense, including the first when she drew a five-meter penalty. 

CMS is back in action when it resumes SCIAC play on Wednesday, traveling to Whittier for a 7 p.m. contest.