CLU Splits Home Openers

Kingsmen defeat Cerritos, fall to Concordia

Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013 7:42 pm

Max Zappas scored four goals with five drawn ejections in a doubleheader to open the home schedule today.


Credit: Tracy Maple Hi-res image

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – For the first time in 2013 the Cal Lutheran men’s water polo team competed inside the friendly confines of the Samuelson Aquatics Center this afternoon. Before a good sized crowd CLU earned a split with Concordia-Irvine and Cerritos College falling 16-2 and winning 14-9, respectively.

With a number of new faces donning the Violet and Gold, the Kingsmen were glad to be home and clearly turned the page on a first game loss quickly to come back and take the nightcap.

In the early goings of the opening game things looked promising against NAIA No. 11 Concordia-Irvine. Trailing by a goal, Camron Hauer knotted the teams at 1-1 in a 6-on-4 situation created by the Kingsmen. A saved shot left the ball in the hands of Hauer who reared back and ripped a shot of his own, only to have the ball blocked by CUI goalie Michael Skinas again, landing right back in front of the freshman. Hauer faked and then scored to pull CLU even with 48 seconds to play in the opening period.

The second stanza started strong for the Violet and Gold as Max Zappas scored on an assist from Taylor McMaster at the 5:40 mark. On the ensuing possession Concordia tied things up and never looked back as the Eagles would go on to score 14 more unanswered goals despite CLU earning man-up opportunities throughout the remainder. Zappas led the Kingsmen with four drawn ejections and Hauer and Hunter Hamaker each drew two.   

Goalkeeper Jesse Owen turned in some big blocks during the three quarters of action he saw, tallying a total of 10 saves. Zach Loza entered in the fourth and recorded two. Shea Craig had three steals and Spencer McGrath had two.

In a quick turnaround, the Kingsmen regrouped and came back to win the first quarter 4-3 and never trailed over the final 24 minutes of the second game of the day.

Zappas scored the first of his three goals to kick-start the offense in the game. McGrath skipped a 5-meter shot to give CLU a 2-1 lead and followed up with a second score at the 1:46 mark in the opening period for a 3-2 Kingsmen advantage. Though the defense picked up, CC used the entire shot clock, scoring as it expired to knot things at 3-3. When Nathan Ortega grabbed his own rebound he found Hauer in center for the go-ahead goal with seven seconds to play in the first quarter.

CLU won the sprint to start the second and David Sparks quickly got in on the offense with the first of his three goals in the game. After Cerritos pulled back even, Zach Graper broke the tie for the final time with a goal at 2:49 in the stanza and followed with his second in as many possessions, giving CLU a two-goal lead at the break.

On the first possession of the third quarter, Hamakerfound the back of the net. The Falcons would pull back within one at 8-7 and 9-8, but Hauer scored another and Sparks found the back of the cage twice, for CLU in the final 42 seconds of the period, giving the home squad a comfortable 11-8 advantage with eight minutes to play. The first Sparks score was during a man-up opportunity while his second would serve as the ultimate game-winner.

In the final frame Craigadded one and Zappas score twice, the second on a 2-on-1 situation with under a minute to play that came via a nice lob shot to the right corner of the cage to round out the scoring.  

During the second game Ortega handed out four assists and McGrath added two. Hamaker drew four ejections for the Kingsmen and Graper and Mike Arteaga had a pair apiece.

Defensively, Owenhad 12 total saves, playing the whole game in front of the CLU cage, and came up with a team-high three steals. Graper and Sparks each recorded a field block in the game and Zappas chipped in with two steals as well.  

Cal Lutheran (4-9) will be back in the pool tomorrow when they host No. 6 Division I UC Santa Barbara at noon.

Box Score: CUI 16, CLU 2
Box Score:
CLU 14, CC 9
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