REDLANDS, Calif. — Bryan Jimenez and Josh Vega each scored four goals and the seventh-seeded University of La Verne men's water polo team had No. 2 seed Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on the ropes for much of the game.
But the Stags closed the game out on a 6-1 run to beat the Leopards, 16-12, on Day 1 of the 2014 SCIAC Men's Water Polo Championship, hosted by Redlands, on Friday.
La Verne started slow and fell behind by three goals early in the second quarter. But the Leopards chipped away at the lead, using a 4-1 run to tie the game at seven-all going into the break. The Leopards eventually took a 9-8 lead three minutes into second half on a goal by Jimenez and the teams traded points into the fourth quarter.
Then CMS shifted into fifth gear. After a Jimenez goal tied the game at 11-11 just seconds into the fourth quarter, the Stags rattled off five consecutive goals in a 3:30 span to run away to a 16-11 lead. Alex Waggoner, Mark Nietzel and Adam Hilborn each found the net once and Peter Tilton capped off the run with a pair of goals.
Andrew Phillips stopped the bleeding with 45 seconds left in the game but it was too little, too late.
La Verne had a handful of near-misses in the fourth as Jimenez had a late penalty shot bar out and the Leopards hit the goal frame on three different occasions.
Tanner Cullen led the way for the Stags with four scores, followed by Hilborn with three. Ellison Taylor, Peter Tilton and Daniel Cogan each had two.
La Verne will take on Caltech tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. for a chance to improve its position in the standings. For tournament information, CLICK HERE.Follow La Verne Athletics on Twitter @ULV_Athletics Follow La Verne Athletics on Instagram @ULV_Athletics
Like La Verne Athletics on Facebook Sign up for our newsletter