CMS water polo struggles on East Coast against Division I competition

Robert Driscoll CM ’21, pictured in a game earlier this season, has been key to the Stags strong offensive attack this year. (Photo courtesy of Jeremy Kniffin)

On Saturday, Oct. 12, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s water polo team trekked across the country to participate in the Harvard Invitational Water Polo Tournament.

After a close 14-13 loss to Pepperdine University the weekend before, the Stags were hoping to snatch a few wins on the East Coast. Despite their aspirations, the start of the tournament did not necessarily go as planned, as CMS suffered losses to Division I teams from Harvard University, Brown University, and Princeton University.

The Stags did finish the weekend with one victory, however, defeating Iona with a score of 12-10. Peter Blumberg CM ’22 scored the final goal with only 80 seconds remaining.

The Stags fell to 10-5 on the season, and attributed the recent losses to a lack of anticipation for the intensity required to play the D1 schools.

One of the main fallbacks the team faced, according to Zack Rossman CM ’20, was poor communication between defensive players.

“Specifically, our perimeter players need to do a better job talking with our center defenders and goalies as to when to drop and when to press,” Rossman said.

Nick Britt CM ’21 has also played a big role on the Stags’ front line. (Photo courtesy of Jeremy Kniffin)

Although the trip was disappointing, the tournament served as an opportunity for the Stags to reflect on their performance and improve for the future.

“Playing D1 teams is key to improvement because they expose flaws that don’t come up against less competitive D3 teams,” Rossman said.

Although they finished the weekend with double the amount of losses they entered with, it proved to be a moment of learning for the whole team.

“We’ve made a name for ourselves this season with scrappy, last-minute victories, and we’re really proud of the strong start to this season,” said Rossman. “While this period of frustration was difficult, we’ve moved past it and will use it to strengthen our rapport down the road.”

In terms of scoring, Rossman indicated his surprise to see the success the underclassmen have found on the offensive end this year. In particular, Nick Britt CM ’21, Barron Banta CM ’21, and William Clark CM ’22 provided scoring options the Stags did not have in the past.

As a veteran player, Rossman is focusing more on the role of giving younger players the confidence to make strong drives and counter attacks.

“It’s key to build confidence right now, especially with such a young team,” Rossman said.

Since the tournament, the Stags have evaluated their performance to make some changes to their system. The team plans on intensifying their warm ups in hopes of improving upon how they start the game.

“While we didn’t have a particularly strong weekend on the East Coast, we do not want to forget about our undefeated record in SCIAC,” Rossman concluded.

 

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