Stags Outlast Sagehens in Overtime

The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s water polo team defeated Pomona-Pitzer in overtime by a score of 16-15 at Claremont McKenna’s Axelrod Pool in the latest rendition of the Sixth Street rivalry game on Saturday, Nov. 9. After a back-and-forth game, the CMS Stags pulled out the exciting victory by scoring three goals in overtime to win by a one-goal margin. On Wednesday, the Sagehens fell 14-9 to Redlands University for their second straight league loss. After the two losses, the Sagehens now have an overall record of 8-21 and are 4-3 in league play, good for a tie for fourth place in SCIAC. The Stags improved to a 14-9 overall record and are now 6-1 in SCIAC games.

With numerous fans in the bleachers for this rivalry match-up, both teams came out ready to play. In a close first quarter, John Holland CM ’14 scored two goals for the Stags. However, the Hens were able to keep it close, scoring three goals of their own to end the first quarter of play in a 3-3 tie. Holland continued his offensive tear, scoring his third goal in the first minute of the second quarter. Adam Hilborn CM ’16 added to the CMS lead, scoring a solid backhand goal of his own. The Stags rattled home five goals in the second quarter and had a chance to pull ahead for good, but James Baker PO ’17 answered back with a hat trick of his own, scoring three goals in the second quarter. With the help of Baker, P-P was able to stay in the game going into halftime, trailing by a score of 8-6.

After two CMS goals at the beginning of the second half by Tanner Cullen CM ’16 and Maarten Lefor CM 14, the Stags pulled ahead by four. However, the Sagehens continued to fight, answering back with a 4-0 run to tie the game. In the final play of the third quarter, Cullen scored again to give CMS a 11-10 lead going into the final quarter of play. After P-P’s offense came out strong in the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Hens found themselves leading for the first time in the second half by a score of 13-12, with two minutes left to play. At the end of a hard-fought fourth quarter, Eric Bakar CM ’17 found the back of the net with about a minute left to tie the game at 13 apiece. The Sagehens attempted a last-ditch effort to win the game, and went on the attack with only seconds remaining, but could not manage to get the winning goal. A great defensive effort by the Stags and a save by James Kelly CM ’15 sent the game into overtime. 

CMS came out strong to start the first overtime period: Daniel Cogan CM ’16 started the extra play with a goal, but this score was quickly answered by a Sagehen goal from Jarrod Gaut PZ ’14. Although P-P had a six-on-five advantage at the end of the first overtime period, they could not capitalize and the score remained 14-14 going into the second overtime period. 

After the second overtime period began, CMS jumped out to a quick two-goal lead with scores from Alec Linz CM ’16 and Cullen. A goal from Stephen Vint PZ ’15, with 45 seconds left, kept the Sagehens within reach. In a final effort by the Sagehens, Gaut took a shot on a counter that was blocked, and the rebound was out of reach, securing the close 16-15 victory for the Stags.

After the game, Holland had this to say about the win: “We knew it was going to be an intense and emotional game, and Pomona-Pitzer is a very good team, but we just wanted to go out there and have fun. We couldn’t get caught up in the madness of the crowd and had to remember it was just another game. We are confident in ourselves and in our system, so it was about staying calm and executing.”

Holland also gave a lot of credit to his teammates, saying, “On Saturday, we were forced to rely heavily on our bench, and they stepped up. Coming into the game we were not full strength in terms of our starting lineup, and a couple starters fouled out relatively early on into the game. Our bench has become the backbone of our team, and they showed that against Pomona-Pitzer.”

Unfortunately for P-P, the team could not rebound from the tough rivalry loss in their next game. Playing against another solid SCIAC squad, the Redlands Bulldogs, P-P struggled to keep up with a potent Redlands offense and ultimately lost 14-9. 

CMS will take on Chapman University on Saturday in their final game of the regular season, and P-P will face off against La Verne at 11 a.m. in their final regular season game before entering the SCIAC playoffs.

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