Kingsmen Victorious on Senior Day; Remain in Contention for SCIAC Tournament Berth

(left to right) Seniors Matt Fong, Justin English and Jack Kirby were honored before the Kingsmen took down Occidental 11-9.
(left to right) Seniors Matt Fong, Justin English and Jack Kirby were honored before the Kingsmen took down Occidental 11-9.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.— It was Senior Day for Cal Lutheran men's water polo, and the Kingsmen came out on fire and held off the Occidental Tigers down the stretch to win the game 11-9 Saturday afternoon at the Samuelson Aquatics Center. 

Before the game, the Kingsmen honored and celebrated Justin English, Matt Fong and Jack Kirby. The seniors made their mark on the game as they led Cal Lutheran to the victory. 

With the win, Cal Lutheran is 7-6 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play. They are currently one game back of the fourth spot for the SCIAC Postseason Tournament. Overall, Cal Lutheran is 15-11.

Fong had a big game on Senior Day. He led the team in goals and steals with three and four, respectively. He also added one assist and one field block. 

Ben Brown and Dillon Goldsmith kept the offense going and totaled two goals apiece. Four more Kingsmen scored once. Brown and Hans Cole helped move the ball around and recorded two assists each. 

Kirby recorded one drawn ejection. It proved to be a big part of the game as the Kingsmen capitalized on the power play and scored a goal. CLU was 3-for-6 on power play opportunities. Kirby and English were instrumental down the stretch on defense as Cal Lutheran held off Oxy. 

Andre Rivas was in the cage for the entire game. He made 10 saves and added one steal. 

The Kingsmen got on the board first as Wyatt Lowe scored on CLU's first possession. Cal Lutheran opened up an early lead and were up 5-3 after the first quarter. Fong, Tanner Kaplan, Goldsmith and Kyle Crist all scored in the quarter. 

CLU doubled up the Kingsmen at the start of the second quarter as Fong scored his second goal. Brown added to the lead and Cal Lutheran was up 7-3 with 6:18 left in the half. The Tigers scored three straight to cut the lead to one. The Kingsmen fired back as Goldsmith scored a goal with four seconds left. CLU had an 8-6 lead at the half. 

The Tigers continued their comeback and tied up the score at 8 with 2:49 left in the third. Cal Lutheran was there with a counter, again, as Taylor Garcia made it 9-8. 

Fong recorded his hat trick early in the fourth and put CLU up 10-8. It was all about defense the rest of the way as the Kingsmen held off the Tigers. Oxy did make it a one-point game, before CLU pushed the lead back to two. Brown scored the final goal of the game as CLU won 11-9. 

The Kingsmen end the regular season at home. Cal Lutheran will host Chapman Wednesday at 4 p.m.  

Interview with Jack Kirby and Matt Fong:

Box Score:CLU 11, OXY 9
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director

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