On Wednesday night, Nov. 11, the annual 6th street rivalry game took place between the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Pomona-Pitzer men's water polo teams under the Haldeman Pool lights. CMS (18-7, 8-0 SCIAC) came into the match undefeated in conference play and began the game looking just that way. The Stags scored five goals in the first quarter, their offense firing on all cylinders, while allowing P-P to score just once. Although the Sagehens (11-14, 3-4) were able to cut the Stag lead to just two goals in the third quarter, CMS stayed strong and ultimately defeated P-P 12-7.
Coming into the rivalry match, both teams had begun their weeks well, picking up victories over the weekend. P-P handled University of La Verne in their match on Saturday, Nov. 7, by a score of 11-5, with goals from seven different players on the team. The Stags took on Chapman University on Saturday and cruised to a 13-9 victory. The Stags started out their Chapman game with an impressive 6-0 run in the first quarter, and only began allowing goals from Chapman after putting in their second-string team for most of the second half.
Wednesday night featured a packed house at the home of the Sagehens. Although CMS entered the match as the favorite, P-P looked to capitalize on the home-field advantage to capture a win. However, the Stags didn't allow any reason for P-P fans to get excited, as they scored five straight goals in the first five minutes. Adam Hilborn CM '16, Eric Bakar CM '17 and Daniel Cogan CM '16 all found the back of the net, while Alex Waggoner CM '17 scored twice.
Ellison Taylor CM '17 noted that the Stags' defense was the true reason for the successful start to the game.
“Our team held really strong defensively, which allowed our offensive opportunities and counterattacks to come naturally,” he said. “After establishing ourselves early in the first quarter, we were confident in our ability to maintain control.”
In the third quarter, P-P gained some momentum as Phillip Clayman PO '16 made the score 5-7 with just 30 seconds left in the quarter. However, Tanner Cullen CM '16 silenced the crowd with a goal 20 seconds later and stopped the Sagehen rally. In the fourth quarter, the Stags put three consecutive goals past the P-P goalie, one each from Hillborn, Baker and Taylor, to put the game out of reach. The Stags continued to build on their lead from that point, rolling to a 12-7 victory.
“We didn’t come out ready to play,” Neil Forsythe PO '16 said. “It took us until the end of the second quarter before we were able to start putting shots away.”
Frustrated, Forsythe added that he is confident in the team's ability to play going forward. “We are definitely capable of playing a full four quarters of our best water polo,” he said.
P-P has a home game against California Lutheran University this Saturday, Nov. 14, at 11 a.m. to finish up conference play, while CMS has a week and half off before the SCIAC tournament November 20-22. The Stags will be the top seed in the annual tournament and are prepared for the competition. Taylor noted, however, that it's important for the Stags to understand their position as the top-ranked team.
“With an undefeated conference record, we definitely have a target on our back,” Taylor said. “It'll be important that we understand that before the tournament.”