No. 16 Falcons Split Two Games at the Inland Empire Classic
CLAREMONT, Calif. - The 16th-ranked Air Force water polo team wrapped up its weekend on Sunday by splitting a pair of games at the Inland Empire Classic, co-hosted by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Falcons defeated host CMS, 8-7, before dropping a 15-10 decision to ninth-ranked Long Beach State.
In its first game of the day, Air Force (3-1, 3-0 WWPA) outscored conference foe Claremont in the final period to edge the Sagehens. Senior Cruz Smithson (Capistrano Beach, Calif.) and junior Andrew Hamilton (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) were the leading goal scorers for the Falcons, tallying two goals each, while netminder Mike Fish (Sr., Manhattan Beach, Calif.) was credited with 11 saves.
Air Force's game against CMS was a close one, with the Falcons holding a one-goal advantage at the end of two periods, while the Sagehens were able to tie the score at 6-6 going into the final stanza. The Falcons struggled with their 6-on-5 offense against Claremont, scoring on just one of 10 opportunities.
Meanwhile, in its final game of the weekend, Air Force was unable to overcome an early deficit against the 49ers, trailing 4-1 after one period and 7-3 at the half. Junior Josh Stedman (Brea, Calif.) was the leading goal scorer for the Falcons, tallying three goals, while Arcidiacono added a pair of scores. In addition, Smithson tallied a team-best four assists, as he moved up on the Falcons' top 20 scoring list with 187 career points.
The Falcons are back in action next weekend, Sept. 15-16, at the NorCal Tournament, hosted by Stanford. Air Force opens the tournament, which features 16 of the top teams in the nation, against third-ranked Cal.
No. 16 Air Force 8, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 7