The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s
water polo team fell to the Pepperdine University Waves (5-5) on Sept. 28 6-13 in Malibu, bringing their record to 1-9 on the season. The Waves,
ranked no. 11 in the nation, represent the sixth top-20 team that the
Stags have played this season, and also the last, as the team moves toward playing non-ranked competition for the rest of the season. Pepperdine got off
to a hot start in the game, and despite some offensive sparks from the Stags,
the Waves were able to hold off for the win.
The game began with the Waves
scoring five unanswered goals against the Stags. By the sixth minute in the first quarter, with the score 0-5 in favor of the Waves, the Stags
were able to create an opportunity when Ellison Taylor CM ’17 earned an
ejection. Adam Hilborn CM ’16 took a quick pass and fired into the back of the
net for the first goal for the Stags.
In the second quarter, CMS
struck first, again through a man-up opportunity. Mark Nietzel CM ’15 drew the
ejection for the Stags, and after some quick ball movement around the
perimeter, Noah Deer CM ’18 scored. Deer would add another goal in the third
quarter to lead the Stags’ scoring.
Although CMS converted two power
play opportunities early on, the team was unable to take advantage of these man-up
situations later on in the game. Out of nine total opportunities, the team
converted only two for a 22 percent power play conversion rate. The Waves, on the other
hand, were two for five on these opportunities, a conversion rate of 40 percent.
“Against Pepperdine, we
attacked really well and were aggressive out of the gate, creating lots of
opportunities,” Scott Anderson CM ’15 said. “Unfortunately, we
weren’t able to execute and take advantage of these opportunities, which we
need to work on.”
Erik Bakar CM ’17 and Daniel Cogan CM
’16 added additional goals for the Stags in the third quarter, but by
then Pepperdine’s lead was too much for the team to handle. Goalkeeper James Kelly CM
’15 added six saves on the day, and Taylor won all four sprints in the game for
the Stags. Despite the loss, the team felt confident in their play against the
Division I team.
“We feel really good about how we played against
Pepperdine,” Anderson said.
“They are a top Division 1 team with some excellent players, and we
showed that we can compete on that higher level by scoring six and keeping it
close. Going into SCIAC play we feel
Next weekend, the Stags will host
the annual Gary Troyer Memorial Tournament along with Pomona-Pitzer and La
Verne. This tournament traditionally attracts teams from all around the
country, with competition such as Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University attending this year. CMS kicked off weekend on Oct. 2 against Iona College and will play four more games over the course of Friday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 4.
“This weekend is a great
opportunity for us to prove ourselves against some Division 1 and Division III
teams,” Anderson said. We are playing five very competitive games, which we
expect to all be close.”
Although CMS has many different
opponents to think about, the Stags are focusing on the first game of the
tournament and starting off with a win. The stags are looking to improve a few parts of the game that they thought were weak against Pepperdine, including their power play defense. In addition, the Stags are looking to nurse some key players to peak health this week who are currently suffering from injuries.
The Stags next played on Thursday, Oct. 2, and defeated Iona 14-12. Bakar scored six goals to provide a huge offensive boost for the team, and Kelly was dominant in goal to help the Stags prevail.
With a fresh lineup and a reinvigorated offensive attack, CMS
will take on the diverse competition at the Gary Troyer Memorial Tournament with a clear strategy in mind.