CLAREMONT, Calif. — Division III No. 2-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges used strong first and third quarters to beat the Division III No. 5 Johns Hopkins University water polo team, 15-10, in the USA Water Polo Division III National Collegiate Championship semifinals at Pomona-Pitzer Colleges’ Haldeman Pool.
The defeat drops Hopkins into the Third Place game at 11:00 a.m. Pacific/2:00 p.m. Eastern versus Division III No. 8 MIT on Sunday, December 5. It will mark the second meeting of the year between the Blue Jays of the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference (MAWPC) and the Engineers of the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) as JHU claimed an 11-10 sudden death victory over MIT on October 24 at Connecticut College in New London, Conn., for the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division III Eastern Championship title.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps will face No. 16/Division III No. 1/host Pomona-Pitzer a 1:00 p.m. Pacific/4:00 p.m. Eastern for the Division III National Championship.
Facing Hopkins for the second time in 2021 after claiming a 9-3 win on October 1 at home in Axelrood Pool during the Gary Troyer Tournament, the Stags jumped out to a three-goal lead over the game’s first six and a half minutes. Sophomore Seth Berke got the Blue Jays on the board with a six-on-five goal with 54 seconds to go in the opening quarter.
The second started much the same as the first, with four unanswered CMS goals as the Stags pushed out to a 7-1 lead with 4:27 to play in the half. Sophomore Liam Housenbold ended the run with back-to-back goals, just 99 seconds apart. Graduate student Olin Shipstead then scored a man-up goal with just two ticks on the clock to make it a 7-4 game at the break.
Senior Jayden Kunwar opened the third quarter with a five-meter goal to pull the Blue Jays within two at the 6:18-mark. The Stags responded with a 5-1 run to grab a 12-6 lead after three quarters.
Senior Emerson Sullivan, who was seeing his first action in more than a month, scored just 19 seconds into the fourth. CMS answered with a pair of goals to push its lead to 14-7 at the 5:23-mark. Housenbold scored on a six-on-five, but the Stags answered with one of their own and it was a 15-8 game with 3:18 to play. Sophomore Paul Gensbigler converted on a Blue Jay’ man-up, followed by another strike from Sullivan and the deficit was down to five just 62 seconds later. But that’s as close as the Blue Jays could get.
Housenbold led the Blue Jays with a game and career-high four goals and five points. Sullivan (two goals, one assist), Shipstead (one goal, one assist), Kunwar (one goal, two assists) and Chris Freese (two assists) also had multi-point games.
Kunwar extended his point-scoring streak to 19 games, while Sullivan moved into a tie for 21st in JHU history with 180 career points.
Senior Jake Pearson had a pair of steals and is now tied for 15th with 117 career steals. Shipstead drew two ejections and moved into a tie for seventh in program history with 119.
Freshman Kyle Pearson finished with 13 saves, his 12th double-digit save performance of the season. He boasts 259 saves on the season, second most by a freshman in Johns Hopkins history.
The loss drops Hopkins to 7-10 all-time against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, including 0-2 in the USA Water Polo National Championship as the Blue Jays fell by a 14-11 count on December 7, 2019, during the opening round of the inaugural event at Whittier College.
Information courtesy Johns Hopkins University Athletics Communications