THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The MIT water polo team, ranked No. 6 in the latest Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division III poll, traveled west to California for a four-day trip over the weekend, taking on some of the top squads in the area while there. The Engineers participated in Posada Royale Invitational at California Lutheran University while out there, in addition to playing three games at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges. The Cardinal and Gray picked up three wins against four losses during the road trip.
MIT opened up against the host Kingsmen on Thursday night. Cal Lutheran, fifth in the CWPA Division III rankings, jumped out to an early 2-0 lead but Tech rallied back to tie the game twice, at 2-2 and 6-6. Trailing 7-6 with under two minutes to go in the third quarter, MIT earned a five-meter penalty shot but Dennis Smiley (Corona, Calif.) was denied on the attempt and Cal Lutheran responded with a penalty conversion of its own on the ensuing possession. The Kingsmen scored three quick goals in the fourth and MIT would later cut the gap to 11-8 but got no closer the rest of the way. Craig Cheney (Sherwood, Ore.) led the scoring for MIT with six markers, including four in the first half. Columbus Leonard (Mill Valley, Calif.) made five stops in the loss.
The Cardinal and Gray traveled to the California Institute of Technology the next night, to take on the Beavers for just the third time in program history and first since 2004. The Engineers scored the game's first six goals, coming from five different players and would lead by eight at the break at 11-3. MIT continued its assault on the scoreboard in the third quarter, scoring nine more times in the frame, including three tallies from freshman Kyle Bowman (Millbrea, Calif.). Tech added three more in the fourth for the 22-5 win. Kevin Hsiue (Alamo, Calif.) saw some time in goal for MIT, making six blocks.
MIT returned to Cal Lutheran on Saturday for a pair of games against the University of La Verne and Fresno Pacific University. After leading 3-2 at halftime against Fresno Pacific, the Engineers outscored the Sunbirds, 4-1 in the third and did not look back en route to an 8-5 victory. Jack Clark (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and Dylan Hallman (La Jolla, Calif.) led the way with three goals each, all coming on man-up situations. Leonard had 12 saves in the win. Against La Verne, Scott Stephens (Los Altos, Calif.) had a team-high six tallies and MIT scored six of the games first seven goals during a 14-5 win.
Tech finished up its west coast trip on Sunday at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, falling to the host Stags, 13-6, while also losing to the University of Redlands, 12-7, and Navy, 18-5. Five different players scored in the loss to CMS, the top ranked team in Division III water polo, with Cheney pacing the squad with a pair of goals.
The Cardinal and Gray return east to open up CWPA Northern Division play on Saturday with a pair of games in New York. The Engineers will play at Fordham University at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 24 before finishing with a nightcap at Iona College at 8:30 p.m.