No. 16 Falcons Split on Opening Day of Triton Invitational
Sept. 6, 2008
LA JOLLA, Calif. - Led by the offense of junior Alex Churnside (Orange, Calif.), the 16th-ranked Air Force water polo team got the 2008 season off to a solid start, splitting a pair of contests Saturday at the Triton Invitational, hosted by UC San Diego. The Falcons fell to No. 13 Pacific, 9-7, before rebounding in their second game with a 13-2 victory over conference foe Claremont.
In the first game of the weekend, Pacific took an early 1-0 lead over Air Force, before back-to-back goals by Churnside and Tyler Hewko (Sr., Laguna Hills, Calif.) put the Falcons on top. The Tigers then tallied two straight scores of their own to close out the opening period and regain their advantage.
With a goal midway through the second quarter, Pacific increased its lead to two points before junior Jack Hines (Riverside, Calif.) recorded a score with just two seconds left in the half to bring Air Force back within one. Early in the third period, sophomore Charley Ford (Clovis, Calif.) then tied up the game at 4-4 with his first career goal.However, a three-goal spurt by Pacific put the Tigers on top to stay, as the Falcons dropped the 9-7 contest.
Leading the Falcons' offense against Pacific were Churnside, Hewko and Hines, who each registered two goals and an assist. Meanwhile, sophomore David Ostrom (Mission Viejo, Calif.) added eight saves in goal for Air Force.
In its second game of the afternoon, Air Force took on WWPA opponent Claremont. The Falcons got out to a quick start, outscoring the Stags 3-0 in the first quarter. While Claremont was able to get on board in the second period, Air Force was able to take a 5-1 advantage into the intermission.
The Falcons exploded offensively in the third period, scoring five unanswered goals to take a 10-1 lead. The advantage grew to 10 goals before the Stags were able to find the net for a second time with just over two and a half minutes remaining. Air Force closed out the game with two unanswered scores for a 13-2 victory, winning its first conference game of the year.
Churnside provided an offensive spark against Claremont, scoring four goals against the Stags. Meanwhile, senior Miles McMullan (Irvine, Calif.) had an impressive outing as well, notching three scores, including a penalty goal, and an assist. Sophomores Bobby Geiger (Buellton, Calif.) and Matt Versage (Merced, Calif.) each added two goals, while Hines and senior captain Kevin Williams (River Forest, Ill.) scored one goal each. Meanwhile, Ostrom recorded seven saves in the cage.
The Falcons are back in action tomorrow with a 12:30 p.m. (PT) contest against either Cal Lutheran or Redlands. The winner of Air Force's contest will move into the ninth place game, while the loser falls into the 11th-place contest.
No. 13 Pacific 9, No. 16 Air Force 7 Air Force 2 1 2 2 7 Pacific 3 1 3 2 9 AF Scoring: Churnside 2, Hewko 2, Hines 2, Ford Pacific Scoring: Hollis 3, Milcovich 3, Rossi 3