Maddy Menard had a goal, an assist and two steals (photo by Caelyn Smith)
Maddy Menard had a goal, an assist and two steals (photo by Caelyn Smith)

CMS Women's Water Polo Falls to Whittier in SCIAC Semifinals

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's water polo team fell in an early 3-0 hole and was unable to sustain a run the rest of the way, as it dropped a 9-5 decision to Whittier in the SCIAC Semifinals on Saturday afternoon at Axelrood Pool.

The loss ends the CMS season with a 16-9 overall record, after the Athenas set a new program record with 12 conference wins, while recording the second best winning percentage in SCIAC play in program history at 12-2 (behind only the 7-1 from the 1998 team).  

CMS had defeated Whittier all three times during the regular season, including a 9-8 win at the Redlands Invitational in a non-league game, followed by an 8-7 win at home and a 9-7 win on Wednesday at Whittier, which gave the Athenas the right to host. 

The Athenas jumped out to an early lead on Wednesday and never trailed, but this time the opposite happened, as Whittier led 2-0 after the first quarter and scored on its first possession of the second quarter to make the score 3-0. Elise Power finally broke the ice for CMS with 6:55 left in the half on a 6-on-5, but the Poets were able to come back with the next goal 1:49 later. 

That started a trend for the rest of the game, as Whittier answered every CMS goal, never allowing the Athenas to get a 2-0 run to try to claw their way back in. Cooper McKenna made it a 4-2 game in the second quarter, but the Poets answered to make it 5-2 heading into halftime. 

Whittier scored the first goal of the second half, before McKenna answered with her second to make it a 6-3 game. The Poets scored with seven seconds left in the third to push their lead to 7-3, before Dara Schoolcraft started the fourth quarter scoring with 6:18 to go to make it 7-4. Whittier came back with a 6-on-5 goal 40 seconds later, and Maddy Menard scored with 4:58 left to make it 8-5, but that was as close as CMS could come. 

McKenna finished with two goals and an assist for CMS, while Menard had a goal, an assist and two steals. Bryanna Santis, Amelia Bennett and Emily Flores each had two goals and an assist for Whittier.