18th-Ranked Falcons Defeat No. 19 Cal Baptist, 11-5
Sept. 17, 2006
USAFA, Colo. - The 18th-ranked Air Force water polo went 4-0 at the East Meets West Tournament, registering an 11-5 victory over 19th-ranked Cal Baptist in the last game of the weekend. With the victory, the Falcons move to 8-4 on the season, while the Lancers fall to 9-4.
Cal Baptist got out to the early 1-0 lead when Chris Morgan scored at the 6:22 mark in the first period as the shot clock expired. However, the Falcons came back less than 30 seconds later, getting on the board when Clark Condict (Jr., Irvine, Calif.) notched his first goal of the game. It ignited a 6-0 run for the Falcons, capped off by a score from sophomore Tyler Hewko (Laguna Hills, Calif.) with 3:16 to play in the opening half. The Lancers managed another goal in the period, but Air Force still led 6-2 at the break.
The third period was a defensive struggle, with the only score coming from Condict as he tapped in a pass from freshman Alex Churnside (Orange, Calif.). Senior Kyle Schafer (Irvine, Calif.) started out the scoring in the final period, while junior Justin Berry (Windermere, Fla.) put the Falcons up 9-2 with 4:16 remaining.
After a goal from freshman Jack Hines (Riverside, Calif.) a minute later, the Air Force bench emptied to give some of its newcomers valuable experience. Cal Baptist used this opportunity to mount a comeback, scoring three goals in a span of 45 seconds. However, it was not enough, and after the second goal of the day from senior Danny Kimmich (La Jolla, Calif.), the Falcons captured the 11-5 win and the tournament title.
Eight different Falcons scored in a balanced offensive attack, led by Condict, Schafer and Kimmich with two each. Also scoring for Air Force were senior Matt LeBlanc (Los Angeles, Calif.), sophomore Joey Brewer (Clovis, Calif.), Hewko, Berry and Hines.
At the conclusion of the game, the all-tournament team was named. Earning spots on this year's all-tourney team were Devin Lewis (MIT), Steve Straiger (La Verne), Luke Samson (Brown), Ryan Steiger (Cal Baptist), Aaron Abellano (Cal Baptist) and Schafer. Meanwhile, MVP honors went to the Falcons' Denver Saunders (Sr., Roseville, Calif.), who notched 32 saves, an assist and a steal for the weekend.
The Falcons conclude their home slate next weekend, Sept. 23-24, when they host top-ranked Cal and No. 6 UC Davis.
No. 18 Air Force 11, No. 19 Cal Baptist 5 Air Force 3 3 1 4 11 Cal Baptist 1 1 0 3 5