The California Baptist University Lancer men’s water polo team finished a record-breaking season of 32-6 on a not so high note with a loss to Concordia University 6-5 in the championship game of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Invite on Nov. 13.
Senior player, Greg Smith, said, “going into the championship game, we were favored to win. We had beaten them twice before. We wanted to win it really bad because last year we lost to them in the same NAIA Invite.”
Senior Aaron Steiger gave the Lancers the lead of 5-3 when he scored at the 2:33 mark towards the end of the third quarter.
CBU had the opportunity to score with six 6-on-5’s but only were able to get one goal off in the bottom of the 4th quarter.
However, it was at the :27 mark of the 4th quarter that Concordia took the lead with 6-5 and won the game.
In a news release on the Lancer Athletics website, Head Coach Rick Rowland said, “We played very good defense in this final game only allowing six goals. The offense just wasn’t there for us. It comes down to the fact that they were able to capitalize on one more opportunity than we were. That’s the difference.”
This was also the last game for three seniors on the team. Number 10, Aaron Steigler, Number 11, Alan Ogden, and Number 15, Greg Smith played their final game.
Even with a loss to end the season, coach Rowland had proud words for his team.
“You can’t let the final game define a season, as disappointing as it may be,” Rowland said. “I’m very proud of this team. The guys worked hard all year. They were consistently the highest ranked team we’ve ever had and probably the strongest team we’ve had at CBU.”