Stags, Athenas see Postseason Success, Retain Peace Pipe
The Stags and Athenas had one of the most successful weekends in recent memory. Most teams were in the postseason, and it seemed that big performances came from CMS athletes everywhere they competed. The men's and women's cross country teams competed in the NCAA West Region Meet across the street at Pomona. The Stags took first place honors as the only team with three runners (Kramer Straube (HMC JR) 4th, Brian Kopczynski (CMC JR) 6th, Florian Scheulen (HMC SR) 9th in the top 10. This was the first West Region victory since 2001 for the Stags, and qualifies the team for NCAAs. The women finished a promising 3rd, rebounding from a disappointing performance at SCIACs by finishing ahead of 1st place Occidental and 2nd place Pomona-Pitzer, and qualifying for NCAAs. Jennifer Tavé (SCR SO) 2nd, Julia Rigby (SCR SO) 11th anchored the Athenas as they have all season. The D3 NCAA championships are being hosted by Baldwin-Wallace College in Cleveland, OH this Saturday, November 21. The men will look to improve on their 30th place finish from last year, and the women on their 20th place finish.
The men's Water Polo team competed in the SCIAC tournament at home and had two big upsets before falling in the final. After a 10-8 victory over 4th seeded Cal Lutheran, the aquatic Stags drew the number one ranked team in division 3 in Whittier in the semi-finals. After falling behind 2-0 in the first quarter, the men rebounded to tie the score 3-all at the half. The back and forth game saw the Stags continue to jump ahead of the Poets, but it seemed as if Whittier had an answer for everything. However, after Whittier scored to tie the game at 5-5 in the fourth quarter, Greg Sanford (CMC JR) put the Stags up 6-5 on the ensuing possession. Whittier then brought the house on the Stags defense, not wanting to lose their undefeated season. The men held strong, shutting down the Poets, including a 6 on 5 advantage in the waning moments of the game, giving themselves a SCIAC final birth. Unfortunately the Cinderella run ended for the Stags in the finals, dropping a 4-2 tilt to Redlands in the SCIAC final.
In the Peace Pipe game, the Stags drew first blood on a 23 yd scramble by Patrick Rooney (CMC SO), but P-P responded, scoring twice to put the Sagehens up 14-7. At the end of the second half, the Stags drove 51 yards in two minutes, capped by a D.J. Lillard (CMC SR) Touchdown run, but the PAT was blocked, giving P-P a 14-13 advantage at halftime. After a pep talk by their coach, and and a pumped up 5c dance company performance, the Stags came back strong, with Mikey Hirokawa (CMC SR) catching a 39 yard TD pass after three consecutive P-P drives ended by interceptions, 2 by Brock Olson (CMC SR), and 1 by Dan Picciotto (CMC SR). After a two point conversion, the Stags went back up 21-14. P-P responded on their next posession to tie the game at 21, but Mikey Hirokawa returned a kickoff 73 yards to the P-P 3 yard line, and Nick Marineau (CMC SR) caught a Pat Rooney pass for the final score of the game. P-P threatened on their final drive, but could not get past the CMS defense. The Stags won the peace pipe for the third year in a row and finished with their first winning season since 2003 at (5-4, 3-3 SCIAC).