ERIE, Pa.--For the first time in school history, Connecticut College Camels have advanced to the Championship game of the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division III Men's Championship.
After knocking off Washington & Jefferson earlier today, the Camels defeated the Monmouth Fighting Scots in the night-cap to advance to tomorrow's Championship match. The Camels (8-12) will face a familiar foe in the Engineers of MIT tomorrow at 11 a.m. in the Keystone State. MIT and Connecticut College competed against each other for several years in the Northern Division.
Offensively the goals came from junior All-American Stephan Cress (Rockford, Mich.) who had a hat trick. Senior Carlos Heros (Miami, Fla.) scored five goals while Isaih Porter (La Jolla, Calif.) finished with two. Sophomore Chase Lesniak (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) and senior Henry McMillan (New York, N.Y.) chipped in with single markers for the Camels, who used a 4-0 third period run to pull away from the Fighting Scots and carry an 11-5 lead into the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Dylan Pinckert (Long Beach, Calif.) and McMillan both had three assists. Heros contributed a pair of field blocks. Junior Matthew Wagman (Atlanta, Ga.) and Jake Smith (Baltimore, Md.) had four saves each.
The Camels led 4-2 after the first period after Heros scored two goals in the last 40 second of the quarter. A 3-3 second period saw made it a 7-5 game going into the break. Porter, Cress, Lesniak and McMillan all scored as the Camels roared to an 11-5 lead over the Scots.
In winning six of their last eight games, the 2016 Camels find themselves as the most successful team in school history, facing off against perennial D3 power MIT tomorrow.
"I couldn't be more proud of the men today," Coach Anderson said. "We had an amazing comeback after a horrific first period this morning and dominated the last three periods of the game vs W&J. We continued playing well through three periods this evening. The fourth quarter saw Monmouth put together a string of goals to get back in the game. Cress had a huge goal to put us back up by three with three minutes left.
"The semi-final is always the hardest game to win, and never having been in this position before, the Camels had to dig deep to earn a well-deserved trip to the final," Coach Anderson added. "After getting in at 3 am and having our schedule thrown off-we are tired but feeling positive about what we have accomplished, while understanding that the opportunity to play for a D3 championship awaits us tomorrow!"