Air Force Finishes 14th at SoCal Tournament
Oct. 2, 2011
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Splitting a pair of contests, the Air Force water polo team finished 14th at the SoCal Tournament, hosted by No. 13 Long Beach State. The Falcons opened the day with a 12-10 victory over 15th-ranked Santa Clara, while dropping a 10-6 contest to the host 49ers.
Air Force (5-8, 3-4) used a big first half to pick up the win over Santa Clara, outscoring the Broncos, 7-2, in the opening half. The Falcons found the back of the net first with a score from Andrew Hamilton (So., Mechanicsburg, Pa.) and took a 3-1 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Air Force poured in four more goals in the second period, including a pair from Cruz Smithson (Jr., Capistrano Beach, Calif.), while holding Santa Clara to a single score.
Air Force got out to its largest lead of the game with a goal from Hamilton to open the third period, but the two teams traded goals for the rest of the quarter as the Falcons took a 10-5 advantage into the final stanza. However, Santa Clara made a strong comeback in the fourth period, scoring the first three goals of the quarter to get back within two goals with just over five minutes to play.
Hamilton's third goal of the day pushed the Falcons' lead back to three goals, but the Broncos tallied two more scores to cut the margin to 11-10 at the 2:22 mark in the fourth quarter. However, Santa Clara was unable to score again, while Taque Patino (Sr., Rockford, Mich.) registered his third goal of the game with 1:45 remaining, giving Air Force the two-goal victory.
Smithson was the Falcons' leading scorer against Santa Clara, finishing with four goals, while Hamilton and Patino registered three goals each. Also getting on the board for Air Force was sophomore Josh Stedman (Brea, Calif.), who pitched in two scores, while Dillon Fisher (Jr., Orange, Calif.) registered a team-high four assists. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Danny Harold (Sr., Newport Beach, Calif.) was credited with 14 saves as the Falcons earned their first win over a ranked team this season.
In their second game of the day, the Falcons faced host Long Beach State in the 13th place contest. Air Force was first to score, with Fisher getting on the board at the 2:21 mark in the opening period. The 49ers were able to tie the game, and registered the first goal of the second quarter to gain the lead. After a goal from Smithson tied the game once more, Long Beach State tallied three scores to regain their advantage. Meanwhile, Hamilton notched a man-up goal with just three seconds left on the clock to bring the halftime score to 5-3.
Long Beach State extended its lead to 7-3 by scoring the first two goals of the period. The Falcons began to put together a run, starting with a goal from Patino with 1:03 left in the third quarter. Smithson registered a pair of scores in the first two minutes of the final stanza to bring Air Force within a single goal, but the Falcons could not get any closer as the 49ers notched the last three goals of the game.
The Falcons are off next weekend, but return to action Oct. 14, when they host conference rival Loyola Marymount in a 7:00 p.m. contest.
Air Force 12, No. 15 Santa Clara 10