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Valerie Wraith's goal vs. CUI held up as the winner (photo by Thomas Walker)
Valerie Wraith's goal vs. CUI held up as the winner (photo by Thomas Walker)

CMS Women's Water Polo Splits Pair of One-Goal Games at Axelrood

CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's water polo team held off Concordia for an 8-7 win its first match of the day, and then battled Division I CSU Northridge the whole way in the nightcap, falling 16-15, as it split a pair of matches at Axelrood Pool on Saturday.

With the split, CMS moves to 3-5 on the year, with two wins against Concordia and two close losses to CSU Northridge included in that total, after the Athenas played both teams at the Beach Classic at Long Beach State on Jan. 20. 

Cooper McKenna had nine goals on the day, three in the opening win over the Eagles and six in the nightcap against the Matadors. Valerie Wraith had two goals in the Concordia win, including the one in the fourth quarter that put CMS up 8-6 and proved to be the game-winner. 

CMS led 3-2 at the half against Concordia in a defensive battle, and the Eagles scored first in the second half to pull even. McKenna, though, had back-to-back goals at the 4:18 mark and the 2:31 mark of the third quarter to put CMS ahead to stay. 

Grace Clark made it a 3-0 CMS run with a goal with 25 seconds left in the quarter, but the Eagles answered back to make it 6-4 heading into the fourth. 

Mia Adsen pushed the lead back up three at 7-4, before Concordia struck back with two in a row to put the pressure on. Wraith, though, came up with a big goal with 1:51 left. Concordia answered back and had one final chance to win after an exclusion, but their shot hit the crossbar and CMS was able to get to the loose ball and swim out the win. 

In the nightcap, CMS fell behind 3-0 early, tied it at 5-5, and pulled even with the Matadors on six different occasions, but could never take the lead as CSUN prevailed 16-15. Ka'imi Duncklee capped off a 3-0 run to tie it 10-10 with 2:32 left in the third, after Olivia Cairns and Caitlin Muñoz had goals. 

CSU Northridge got back in front 12-10 at the end of the third, but Adsen and McKenna scored back-to-back goals to make it 12-12. McKenna answered another Matador goal with 4:27 to go, and Dara Schoolcraft tied it 14-14 with 3:44 to play, but CSUN was able to score with 1:35 to go and beat the shot clock with 35 seconds left to make it 16-14. McKenna scored a final goal with eight seconds left but CSUN was easily able to swim out the final seconds. 

Natalie Stearns had six saves in the second half, including several big ones to keep CMS in the hunt. Adsen finished with five assists to go with her goal, and Wraith had her second two-goal game of the day while drawing four exclusions. Munoz also had two goals and two assists for the Athenas. 

CMS will be back in action when it travels to Redlands next weekend to play the host Bulldogs and the University of Toronto.