THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Although the Cal Lutheran and Chapman water polo teams had already met this fall at the Samuelson Aquatics Center, today it was a battle in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the squads. The Kingsmen were unable to recover from a lackluster start, falling 12-9. CLU came back in the afternoon to earn a 20-8 non-conference victory over the Connecticut College Camels.
In the morning, without senior captain Carter Baldwin, the Kingsmen failed to find a rhythm and despite only trailing by a goal at the half, the game belonged to the Panthers.
Chapman won the opening sprint and although the CLU defense shut down Chapman as the possession ended with a field block by Dejan Novakovic, CU opened up a 3-2 lead after the first period.
Cal Lutheran got on the board by way of Kyle Norheim at the 4:18 mark with the second goal coming from Nathan Ortega, after great ball movement on a 6-on-5 situation, culminating with a back door goal on a pass from George Hong.
Each team added two in the second. Novakovic scored on a pass from AJ Franklin and after a pair of Panthers goals to push their lead to 5-3, a CU timeout allowed the Kingsmen to set up their offense. Max Zappas found the back of the net on an assist from Spencer McGrath to pull within one at 5-4.
After the intermission, Chapman netted three unanswered goals to double up the Kingsmen at 8-4.
Shea Craig led the Kingsmen offense. His took a strong shot at the cage that was blocked, but he recovered the rebound and punched the ball into the net for his first of three goals in the game. Hunter Hamaker got in on the action before Craig scored his second of the half on a pass from Norheim in a man advantage. The rookie would add a third goal at the 4:54 mark in the fourth while McGrath rounded out the scoring with 2:44 to play in regulation.
Norheim led CLU with three assists and four drawn ejections while McGrath and Franklin handed our two assists apiece. McGrath finished with three drawn ejections and Hong and Zappas each tallied two.
Defensively Novakovic added six steals to his field block and McGrath added a field block to his line as well. Franklin, Hamaker and Ortega each grabbed two steals in the loss. Danny Mock played the entire game in goal, blocking three shots.
The afternoon game saw CLU explode for 14 first half goals en route to a 20-8 victory, notching their fourth 20-goal game this fall.
While 11 different players found the back of the net, it was Hamaker who paced the offense with five goals followed by Hong and Novakovic with three apiece. Franklin, Hong, Novakovic, Ortega, Potter and Derrick Graham each handed out a pair of assists. Hamaker drew five of the eight drawn ejections for the Kingsmen in game two.
Mock made six saves and Billy Runyon blocked one shot while each grabbed a steal in three and one quarters in front of the cage, respectively. Novakovic came away with a trio of steals and Franklin, Norheim, Ortega and Graham Jameson had a pair apiece. Hong and Novakovic both added a field block as well.
Cal Lutheran (10-10, 1-2 SCIAC) will be on the road Wednesday, Oct. 17 when they travel to Whittier to face off with the Poets at 4:00 p.m.