THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – A late Cal Lutheran men’s water polo surge fell short after Claremont-Mudd-Scripps controlled the opening half in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) matchup at the Samuelson Aquatics Center this morning. Looking for their second consecutive league win, CLU was unable to complete the comeback, dropping a 13-11 decision at the hands of the Stags.
CMS opened a 5-1 first quarter lead with the lone Cal Lutheran goal coming by way of AJ Franklin in a 6-on-5 situation. The Stags then pushed that lead to 8-3 at the intermission.
After the break Spencer McGrath sparked the CLU offense with a lob shot before a defensive stand put the ball back in the hands of the Violet and Gold. Freshman Zack Card heated up in his first meeting with the Stags, scoring three of the next four goals to pull the home squad within a pair at 10-8 with a shot from the outside that found the top left corner of the net at the 2:42 mark in the third.
With four minutes remaining in the final frame Camron Hauer scored his only goal of the game and Card followed up on a five-meter goal to cut the deficit to two. McGrath then pulled the Kingsmen within a single score by netting his third of the game with 19 seconds to play. Cal Lutheran made a strong push late to get the ball back and knot the teams, but CMS would take on an insurance goal with three ticks to go, putting the game out of reach for the home team.
Card led all players with four goals and McGrath finished with three. Nathan Ortega tallied three assists, adding a goal, while Taylor McMaster and David Sparks bothhanded out a pair of assists. Hauer and Max Zappas each gave CLU man-up situations with two ejections apiece.
Nine different players had a steal today and Zappas recorded two. Jesse Owen played all four quarters in front of the cage for the Kingsmen, saving 12 shots and grabbing a steal. McGrath and Sparks were also each responsible for a field block.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (11-8, 3-0 SCIAC) remains unbeaten in league play. The Stags were paced by a three goal game from Mark Nietzel while Erik Bakar and Maarten Lefor scored a pair apiece. CMS goalkeeper James Kelly recorded 11 saves today.
Cal Lutheran (9-14, 1-3 SCIAC) travels to Caltech on Wednesday, Oct. 30 to play the Beavers at 4:00 p.m.