Stingy Defense Propels Kingsmen Past Austin, Ottawa

The defense thrived as CLU defeated Austin 14-6 and Ottawa 20-7. (Photo: Claire Caldera)
The defense thrived as CLU defeated Austin 14-6 and Ottawa 20-7. (Photo: Claire Caldera)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.— On a windy afternoon, Cal Lutheran men's water polo came up with two big wins, defeating Austin 14-6 and Ottawa 20-7, Wednesday at the Samuelson Aquatics Center. 

The wins get the Kingsmen back to .500 as they sit at 7-7. CLU has now won five straight games and has gained some momentum as they jump back into conference play. 

Game One
The Kingsmen defense was out in full force against the Kangaroos as Ben Brown and Justin Krause led the team with four steals each. Nine Kingsmen recorded at least one steal with Seth Hightower adding three and Matt Binckley and Dillon Goldsmith had two apiece. 

The defense turned into offense as Goldsmith recorded a team-high four goals. Tommy Corey and Parker Jory both added two each and four more Kinsgmen added one. The Violet and Gold moved the ball well as Brown and Tanner Kaplan dished out three assists each.

In the Cage, Jonathan Salandi played the first three quarters and Jackson Bottenberg came in for the fourth. Salandi registered eight saves and two steals while Bottenberg tallied two saves, two steals and an assist. 

The first half was all about the defense. The Kingsmen in particular, as they shut out the Roos 3-0 in the first half and looked to carry that momentum into the second quarter. Austin answered the call in the second quarter, outscoring CLU 3-2 , as the Kingsnen took a 5-3 lead at the break. Cal Lutheran turned on another gear in the second half, outscoring the Roos 9-3, and took the game 14-6. 

Game Two
The offense came from all different places as Goldsmith was on fire with five goals and Wyatt Lowe and George Lundgren both added three each. Eight different Kingsmen tallied an assist as they moved the ball all over the pool with Kaplan having three and Brown and Seth Hightower contributing two apiece.

The offense thrived on power play opportunities and were 7-of-8 in those situations. On the other side, they shut down the Spirit and held them to 2-of-7.

The defense was on point as 10 Kingsmen tallied a steal. Blaauw had the most with three and and Binckley was next with two. The Violet and Gold used three goalies in the cage as Andre Rivas, Bottenberg and Kaleo Lee all saw action. Rivas tallied five saves, Bottenberg had three saves and one assist and Lee tallied two saves, one steal and one assist.

The Kingsmen jumped out early against the Spirit and had a 5-1 lead at the end of the first. Cal Lutheran doubled its point total at the half and took a 10-5 lead at the break. CLU put the pressure on in the third and outscored Ottawa 7-1 as they coasted the rest of the way to a 20-7 victory.   

The Kingsmen host another doubleheader on Saturday. Cal Lutheran welcomes Chapman at 11 a.m. and then take on Washington & Jefferson at 2 p.m. 

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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director