No. 19 Air Force Drops Two on Day One of Triton Invitational
Sept. 5, 2009
LA JOLLA, Calif. - Playing a pair of games against top-10 competition, the Air Force water polo team opened up the 2009 season with a pair of losses on the first day at the Triton Invitational, hosted by UC San Diego. The Falcons dropped a 12-5 decision to sixth-ranked conference rival Loyola Marymount, before falling to top-ranked USC, 16-5.
With the two losses, the Falcons open the season with an 0-2 overall record and 0-1 mark in the Western Water Polo Association.
In its first game of the day, the Falcons trailed LMU 3-0 in the opening period before junior Bobby Geiger (Buellton, Calif.) put Air Force on the board with 1:28 left to play in the quarter. Following a second-period score from senior Alex Churnside (Orange, Calif.) to bring the Falcons back within one point, the Lions tallied three unanswered goals to increase their lead to four. While Geiger added another score in the period, LMU went into intermission with a 7-3 advantage.
Senior captain Jack Hines (Riverside, Calif.) notched the lone Air Force goal in the third quarter, which saw the Lions grab a 10-4 lead going into the final stanza. The two teams combined for just three goals in the fourth period, with Churnside registering his second goal of the game with 6:16 remaining, while Loyola Marymount was able to secure the 12-5 victory.
Air Force played its second contest of the afternoon against USC, the defending national champion. This time, the Falcons took the lead early with the first career goal from freshman Cruz Smithson (Capistrano Beach, Calif.). However, the Trojans responded with a 5-0 scoring spurt that extended into the second period. Junior Matt Versage (Merced, Calif.) stopped USC's run with his first goal of the season, and after another Trojan goal, Geiger notched his first goal of the game to bring the score to 6-3 at the half.
While the first half against USC was close, the Trojans exploded offensively after the break, outscoring Air Force, 10-2, en route to a 16-5 victory. Scoring the lone goals for Air Force in the second half was junior Matt Shields (Gilroy, Calif.).
The Falcons are back in action tomorrow for the conclusion of the Triton Invitational. Air Force will face WWPA foe Pomona-Pitzer in the first game of the morning, slated for 8:00. Meanwhile, the Falcons' final opponent will be based on the results of the weekend.
No. 6 Loyola Marymount 12, No. 19 Air Force 5
No. 1 USC 16, No. 19 Air Force 5