Kingsmen Split in Home Opener

Stephen Blaauw dove into the pool at the SAC for the first time of his career today. (Photo: Tracy L. Olson)
Stephen Blaauw dove into the pool at the SAC for the first time of his career today. (Photo: Tracy L. Olson)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Cal Lutheran men's water polo team jumped into the pool at the Samuelson Aquatics Center for the first time of the season today, hosting the Air Force Academy and Cuesta College in a split doubleheader. After a tough 15-8 loss to AFA, the Kingsmen earned their first win of the fall with a 12-11 victory over CC in the afternoon.  

To start the day, Mats Albins scored both first frame goals for the Kingsmen, but by the end of the quarter against Air Force, CLU saw itself trailing 4-2. Cal Lutheran was unable to add to its tally in the second stanza and went into the intermission trailing 10-2. 

The second half also belonged to the Falcons, though Chris Gardhouse netted a goal with 2:14 to play in the third period and with exactly a minute to play George French found the back of the net as well, cutting the deficit to 15-4. A pair of strong defensive stands closed out the quarter for CLU. During the final eight minutes of action, the Kingsmen held Air Force off the board. Meanwhile, Gardhouse added another goal and Andre Laserna converted a five-meter shot before George Lundgren and Parker Jory both got in on the offense late.  

Gardhouse drew a team-leading three ejections while French and Lundgren each earned a pair.

Defensively, Nick Loomis worked all 32 minutes in front of the cage and turned away 12 Falcons shots in the contest. Gardhouse and Matt Fong had three steals apiece and both Fong and Davy Thomas recorded a field block.

In the second game of the day, CLU erased a 3-2 first quarter deficit by outscoring Cuesta College 5-1 in the second quarter to steal the momentum and take a 7-4 lead at the break. Though it was a one-goal game, Cal Lutheran held an advantage throughout the second half and the fourth goal of the game from Gardhouse, on his fourth attempt, accounted for the ultimate game winner.

Overall, eight different players scored against CC with French adding two as the only other player with more than one in the contest. Additionally, he handed out two assists, as did Justin English. Taggart Diehl drew three ejections and Gardhouse tallied two.

At the defensive end, Jake Venckus guarded the cage for all four quarters, recording eight saves with three steals to share the team lead with Fong and English. Laserna had the only field block for Cal Lutheran, adding a goal, on his only shot, and an assist.

Cal Lutheran (1-5) opens Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play on the road at Occidental on Wednesday, Sept. 20 with first sprint set for 4:00 p.m.

Box Score: CLU 12, CC 11
Box Score:
AFA 15, CLU 8
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Release by Tracy L. Olson, Sports Information Director