No. 12 Air Force Wins Two at East Meets West Tournament
Sept. 12, 2009
USAFA, Colo. - Rebounding from a one-goal loss on Friday evening, the 12th-ranked Air Force water polo team won both of its games Saturday at the East Meets West Tournament, being held at Cadet Natatorium. The Falcons opened the morning with an 8-7 victory over Cal Baptist, while rolling to a 14-7 victory over No. 15 St. Francis during the afternoon session. With the victories, the Falcons improve their record to 4-3 on the season.
Looking to avenge its loss to Cal Baptist last night, Air Force came out strong against the Lancers, outscoring CBU 3-1 in the opening period. Freshman Cruz Smithson (Capistrano Beach, Calif.) started the scoring with a penalty shot in the first minute of play. While the Lancers responded with a score from Aaron Steiger, Smithson added his second tally of the game with two and a half minutes remaining in the quarter, followed by a score from junior Matt Versage (Merced, Calif.).
The Falcons held on to their two-point advantage after both teams played evenly in the second period, but another 3-1 quarter for Air Force after the break extended the Falcons' lead to four goals. It was a similar situation for the two teams, as Air Force trailed Cal Baptist by four points going into the final period of Friday evening's game, before rallying to within a single goal. The same would happen on Saturday, as the Lancers scored three unanswered goals in the fourth quarter. However, with strong defensive play by senior goalkeeper David Ostrom (Mission Viejo, Calif.), the Falcons were able to hold on for the 8-7 victory.
Smithson led Air Force against Cal Baptist with four goals, while senior Jack Hines (Riverside, Calif.) added two scores. Also getting on the board for the Falcons were Versage and Alex Churnside (Sr., Orange, Calif.) with a goal each.
After Saturday morning's game between 15th-ranked St. Francis against Cal Baptist also came down to a single goal, with the Terriers coming out on top, it appeared that the Falcons would be in for quite a battle. While Air Force scored first with a goal from Hines and grabbed a 3-1 lead after one period, the teams were evenly matched in the second period and again, the Falcons took a 5-3 advantage into the second half.
This time, however, a determined Air Force team came out strong after the intermission and never let St. Francis back into the game. The Falcons outscored the Terriers, 9-4, in the second half, led by Smithson and Taque Patino (So., Rockford, Mich.), who each notched a pair of goals.
The Falcons were benefitted by a balanced offensive output against St. Francis, with nine different scorers. Leading the way was Bobby Geiger (Jr., Buellton, Calif.), whose three consecutive first-half goals helped put Air Force in control early in the game. Hines added two goals, while Churnside, Versage, Jason Fung (Sr., Honolulu, Hawaii), Kurt Wallin (Jr., Temecula, Calif.) and Brad Rajchel (Fr., Winter Park, Fla.) each tallied a score.
Air Force wraps up competition at the East Meets West Tournament tomorrow with another contest versus St. Francis. The game is slated to begin at 9:00 a.m. at Cadet Natatorium.
No. 12 Air Force 8, Cal Baptist 7
No. 12 Air Force 14, No. 15 St. Francis 7 SFC Scoring: