No. 20 Air Force Drops Two on Opening Day of NorCal Tournament
Sept. 20, 2008
STOCKTON, Calif. - Facing off against a pair of top-10 teams, the 20th-ranked Air Force water polo team dropped both of its contests Saturday on the opening day of the NorCal Tournament. The Falcons opened the day with a 19-1 defeat against second-ranked USC, then came up short in a 10-9 double overtime loss to No. 10 UC Santa Barbara.
Air Force's afternoon game against UC Santa Barbara was a thriller. The Gauchos opened up the contest with a 3-0 lead after one period, and extended their advantage to 4-0 before the Falcons' Matt Versage (So., Merced, Calif.) put Air Force on the board in the second quarter. The Falcons went into the break down 4-2, but were able to come back within one goal in the third period, trailing just 6-5 with one quarter to play.
With UCSB leading 7-6 in the final minute of regulation, junior Alex Churnside (Orange, Calif.) tallied the equalizer for Air Force with just 24 seconds left on the clock, sending the game into overtime. Versage was first to score in the extra period, giving the Falcons' their first lead of the contest at 8-7. The Gauchos responded with another goal, but Air Force once again found the net to take a 9-8 lead after one three minute session. However, UCSB tied the game in the second three-minute period to force sudden death. This time, the Gauchos came out on top, as Jesse Tootell registered the game-winner with just 15 seconds remaining.
Churnside led the Falcons with three goals against UCSB, while Versage and Bobby Geiger (So., Buellton, Calif.) added two scores each. Also finding the net for Air Force were Kevin Williams (Sr., River Forest, Ill.) and Jack Hines (Jr., Riverside, Calif.) with one goal each. Meanwhile, junior goalkeeper David Ostrom (Mission Viejo, Calif.) was credited with 16 saves in the contest.
In the first game of the morning, USC, which has won three straight team titles at the NorCal Tournament, rolled out to an 8-1 advantage at the half. Meanwhile, the Trojans were even more dominant after the break, outscoring the Falcons 11-0, en route to the 19-1 victory. Geiger scored the lone Air Force goal, while Ostrom and Danny Harold (Fr., Corona Del Mar, Calif.) split time in the cage, with two and four saves, respectively.
Tomorrow, the Falcons wrap up action at the NorCal Tournament. Air Force will face No. 13 Navy at 9:20 a.m. and then either No. 11 UC Davis or No. 17 Cal Baptist in the final contest of the weekend.
No. 2 USC 19, No. 20 Air Force 1
USC Scoring: Sagehorm 3, Borisoff 3, May 3, Krumpholz 2, Kurzeka 2, Sardo, Buckner, Vranes, Sterling, Money, Cummins
No. 10 UC Santa Barbara 10, No. 20 Air Force 9 (2OT)
AF Scoring: Churnside 3, Versage 2, Geiger 2, Williams, Hines