THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.— Cal Lutheran men's water polo came up with a clutch conference win at home defeating Chapman 14-13 and then capped off the day with a win against Washington and Jefferson 17-4 Saturday afternoon.
The Kingsmen won their seventh straight game and are now two games above .500 at 9-7. CLU has also won two straight SCIAC games and improved to 2-3 in conference play.
The contest pitted No. 6 Cal Lutheran and No. 4 Chapman against each other in a competitive and rough barnburner. The teams exchanged points left and right and neither team led by more than three. The first quarter went back-and-forth as the Panthers had the early lead of 3-2 at the end. The game intensified in the second as Cal Lutheran scored six goals to Chapman's 5 and was tied at 8-8 at halftime.
The Panthers took their biggest lead midway through the third, as they opened the second half with three straight goals and were up 11-8. CLU cut into the deficit, but CU took a 12-10 lead to the fourth. Cal Lutheran answered the call in the fourth as Ben Brown and Tanner Kaplan added back-to-back goals to tie the game with 5:52 left.
The Kingsmen continued the comeback and took the lead as Kaplan found Stephen Blaauw for the goal. After a Chapman goal, Brown scored what would be the game winner to make it 14-13 with 2:09 left. Goalkeeper Andre Rivas and the Kingsmen defense shut down the Panthers in the fourth and down the stretch as CLU held on for the win.
Rivas came up with nine big saves in the cage and added three assists and one steal. The defense thrived in the final minutes to help CLU pull out the win with Tommy Corey, Parker Jory and George Lundgren recording two steals each. Offensively, Brown led the way with four goals, three assists and three drawn ejections, and Blaauw and Wyatt Lowe both added three goals. Kaplan tallied two goals and two assists.
Cal Lutheran opened the game with a goal from Kaplan as he converted on a penalty shot. The Kingsmen controlled the game early, offensively and defensively, and had a 4-0 lead at the end of the first. CLU scored the first six goals of the game as the Presidents finally broke through for their first goal with 1:31 left in the half. Both teams scored once more as CLU took a 7-2 lead into the half.
The Kingsmen defense picked up where in the left off in the first half and shut out the Presidents in the third quarter. During that span, CLU scored seven goals and took a 14-2 lead to the fourth. The Kingsmen coasted the rest of the way and won the game 17-4.
Jonathan Salandi, Jackson Bottenberg and Kaleo Lee all shared time in the cage and combined to allow just four goals. Salandi tallied seven saves while Bottenberg and Lee both added two each. Holden Crosina-Sahm kept the defense going and led the team with three steals.
The offense and defense were thriving on power play opportunities and also defending them. The Kingsmen were 9-of-10 on their opportunities and held the Presidents to 0-of-8. Cole Weiderman drew the most with five while Nathan March and Kaplan added two apiece.
Twelve Kingsmen found the back of the net during the game as Corey led the squad with three. CLU moved the ball around well with Lundgren dishing out four assists.
After the clutch conference win, the Kingsmen look to keep the momentum going. Cal Lutheran continues the season at home and welcomes Occidental on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Box Score:CLU 14, CU 13; CLU 17, WJU 4
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director