The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women’s water polo team split its two games March 1 at the annual California Lutheran University Invitational, with a win over Sonoma State University and a loss to the University of Michigan. The win against Sonoma State was the team’s first of the season, bringing their overall record to 1-6 this season.
The Athenas have yet to start their SCIAC schedule, but have played some of the top competition in the nation in their early season games, which is usual for the team. Four of their six losses were against teams ranked in the top 20 nationally.
The Athenas’ win against Sonoma State came in dramatic fashion, as CMS forced Sonoma State into overtime and won in the extra period thanks to some late-game heroics.
“Our team had a vibrant energy in the Sonoma State game,” said hole set Candace Filippelli CM ’14, who scored the game-tying goal. “We opened up with great energy in the first half and continued with this intensity until the end of the fourth quarter.
The Athenas took an early lead and finished the first quarter with the score at 3-1, thanks to a pair of goals from Alyssa Filippelli CM ’14 and another goal from Rose Koper CM ’15. The Sonoma State Seawolves came alive in the second quarter, though, netting four goals.
Candace Filippelli found the back of the net once in the second quarter, but CMS went into halftime down 5-4.
CMS put up three goals in the third quarter, two from Alex Toohey CM ’14 and one from Brittany Arneson CM ’17, to tie the game 7-7 at the end of the third. With the game tied at 8-8 and three minutes left on the clock, Koper committed her third major foul of the game, and was excluded permanently from the game as a result. Just 30 seconds later, Sonoma State scored to pull ahead with only 2:30 left on the clock.
But CMS wasn’t done yet. The team earned a key ejection with 24 seconds left to go, and in the six-on-five formation, Candace Filippelli scored the game-tying goal with only 12 seconds left on the clock.
In overtime, Shannon Golden CM ’17 and Toohey stepped up for CMS and found the back of the net to take the lead, while goalie Allison Hu CM ’15 made some crucial saves. Hu, who ended the game with 13 saves, allowed no goals in extra time, helping the Athenas win 11-9. Both Alyssa Filippelli and Toohey finished the game with hat tricks.
“I am really proud of the way our team rallied together and stepped up in the final minutes of the game,” Candace Filippelli said. “We were resilient to defeat and left everything we had in the pool.”
The Athenas took on No. 16 Michigan next. After a rough first quarter, CMS found itself down 0-5 to start the second. However, the team rebounded with five goals in the second quarter—two from Candace Filippelli and one each from Alyssa Filippelli, Golden, and Koper. The Athenas pulled to within one goal of Michigan before Hu let one past her hands just seconds before halftime to make the score 7-5.
In the third quarter, Michigan extended their lead by adding five goals and holding CMS to two. Alyssa Filippelli scored her second of the day after CMS earned an ejection, and Sarah Gonzalez CM ’15 added a goal. The team was kept quiet in the fourth quarter, and Golden scored the only goal of the period for the Athenas. Michigan added two more in the fourth to end the game with the win, 14-8. Hu finished the second game with 10 saves.
Candace Filippelli said that when the team takes on Michigan and other top teams, the final score does not matter as much as the learning experience.
“Playing talented and highly ranked teams has definitely benefited our team,” she said. “We can learn something from every team we play. The important thing to focus on when playing talented Division I teams is not the scoreboard or the end result, but rather all of the plays that make up the game.”
The Athenas have a big weekend coming up, with two home games today, March 7 and two tomorrow, March 8. Today, the Athenas take on California State, Monterey Bay and No. 8 University of California, San Diego. Tomorrow, the Athenas play Siena College, followed by a rematch with California Baptist University, who beat the Athenas 13-8 in February.