CLAREMONT, Calif. – There were plenty of positive takeaways for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's water polo team on Saturday, as the Athenas (7-17, 1-3) split their weekend doubleheader with a 16-9 victory over Occidental College (5-17, 0-5) and an 11-8 loss to Hartwick (17-7, 1-0).
The Athenas played solid defense in the two games, organizing themselves in set positions and keeping every attacker covered. With high energy on both ends of the pool, the Athenas were able to beat the Tigers handily and stay relatively close with the Hawks until the final period. Freshman Aracelia Aldrete (CMC) led the team in scoring in both games, netting six against Occidental and scoring three against the Hawks. Junior Roxy Kiessling (CMC) had four against the Tigers and added one more against Hartwick.
The Tigers opened up the scoring early in the first period, but the Athenas responded swiftly as junior Jessica Gaffney (CMC) tied the game less than 20 seconds later and Aldrete scored two straight to give CMS a 3-1 lead with 5:38 left in the period. The two teams traded goals throughout the rest of the period and the next two, but the Athenas locked it down on defense and broke out in the fourth. With an 11-8 lead, the Athenas broke out with five straight goals, including two by Aldrete to put the game away.
The Hawks looked frustrated early in the game by CMS as the Athenas moved frequently to swarm the Hawks on defense. Despite giving up a penalty goal and an assisted goal to Lauren Brennan, the Athenas did not look overmatched and were due to break the game even. With 1:15 left in the first period, Gaffney scored off a power-play, but L.J. Edwards took it back on an even-strength goal. However, with 26 seconds left, sophomore Claire Baxter (CMC) hit a laser from the left side of the net to bring the Athenas within one.
The second period was another defensive affair as neither teams were able to hit their shots. It was not until 3:25 left in the half when Aldrete managed a skipping shot to find the net, tying the game at three apiece. The Hawks regained the lead with 3:10 left in the game, but Aldrete and sophomore Kaitlyn Eng (HMC) scored within the final minute as the Athenas led 5-4 at the half.
The Athenas went on a furious start in the beginning of the third period. After a goal by Baxter, Kiessling hustled to extend the lead, pouncing on the opposing goalie after she mishandled a shot and tossed the ball into the back of the net. The Hawks took a timeout and came back in the pool looking more focused. Demonstrating more movement off the ball and making timely passes, the Hawks went on a 3-0 run to tie the game. Aldrete took an outlet pass from sophomore Krystal Sung (CMC) to take the lead back, but it was short-lived as Lena Kotanchyan scored on a laser shot on a power-play to tie the game again.
In the fourth period, the Athenas ran out of energy from having played a game earlier in the day, and could not muster another rally. The Hawks scored three goals in the final period for the eventual victory.
CMS will remain home to host Chapman University this Wednesday, April 5 at 7 p.m.
By Young Kim
Sports Information Assistant
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