The Kingsmen water polo team split two conference matches against the University of Redlands and Occidental College. On Nov. 4 the California Lutheran University Kingsmen fell to the Bulldogs 12-5, but they were able to change their fortune against the Occidental Tigers, defeating them 12-7 on Nov. 7.
According to clusports.com, senior attacker Shea Craig, senior attacker AJ Franklin, sophomore driver Chris Gardhouse, junior utility player Camron Hauer and junior attacker Ben Russell scored Cal Lutheran’s five goals in the loss to Redlands. Craig had two assists while sophomore center forward Mats Albins had one. Sophomore goalkeeper Nick Loomis turned away 15 attempts. Junior attacker Zack Card had three steals. Franklin and Russell each had two steals as well.
Franklin, Gardhouse, Russell, senior attacker Jack Acampora, Card and sophomore center forward Ryan Moguel scored Cal Lutheran’s 12 goals on Nov. 7. Loomis was once again the goalkeeper and blocked 14 shots.
The game against Occidental was also the last home game for the Kingsmen. Cal Lutheran honored its three seniors Craig, Franklin and Acampora before the game. According to HeadCoach Craig Rond, Craig had a concussion and was unable to suit up for the senior day match but they are hoping to get him back before the end of the season.
According to the game program, Franklin is majoring in business administration with an emphasis in management and a Spanish minor. He is ranked fourth all-time for assists and fifth all-time for goals at Cal Lutheran. Additionally he is a three-time Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches All-Academic Honoree.
Acampora is majoring in accounting. He has been inducted into the Cal Lutheran Scholar Athlete Society and like Franklin is also a ACWPC All-Academic Honoree. Acampora is also involved in Cal Lutheran’s swimming and diving program.
Craig is majoring in business administration with an emphasis in marketing. He is ranked 14th all time for goals with his 74 goals and is also a two-time ACWPC All-Academic Honoree. Craig notched a career-high of 13 assists during his senior year and has had 80 steals throughout his career with the Kingsmen.
“It’s bittersweet just because you know it’s your last time playing at this pool, especially for our career. We’re pretty much done after this,” Acampora said.
The last game motivated the two players, both as seniors and captains.
“In any game it kind of comes down to situational things, but there’s a lot more push. We have a lot of family here since it’s the last game,” Franklin said.
Rond shared his opinion of the team’s performance after the game.
“Our strength was we really did a really great job of counter attacking, getting out in there on the turnovers and getting the easy goals earlier in the game. So that’s what I thought was our forte today,” Rond said. “Occidental had a really good outside shooter that we had trouble with and learning how to take away good shooters out of the game, but otherwise it was pretty good shooting for us. Every team in our conference is hard. Every team is difficult. We just play really good defense on the rest of the guys in the water.”
Rond said he believed the last home game was a source of motivation for the two seniors who were able to play.
“AJ Franklin scored six goals in the game and that was his last hurrah. Jack Acampora scored a goal in the game on a really great shot,” Rond said.
Overall the seniors were proud of their work and effort in their last home game.
“It’s all on the team. We’re together as one unit,” Franklin said.
The next match will take place at Pomona-Pitzer on Nov. 14 at 11 a.m. and will be Cal Lutheran’s last regular season game.
Published November 11th, 2015