No. 13 Air Force Defeats No. 18 Santa Clara in Home Opener
Oct. 7, 2012
USAFA, Colo. - The 13th-ranked Air Force water polo team rolled to a 14-9 victory over 18th-ranked Santa Clara Sunday afternoon at the Cadet Natatorium. With the victory, the Falcons improve to 7-6 overall on the season and 6-2 in WWPA action, while the Broncos fall to 7-10 overall and 6-6 in the Western Water Polo Association.
Air Force got out to a quick start in its first home game of the season, tallying a pair of scores in the first two and a half minutes. Santa Clara registered its first goal of the game with 2:55 remaining in the opening period, but the Falcons closed out the quarter with two unanswered scores, a penalty goal from Josh Stedman (Jr., Brea, Calif.) and a shot by senior captain Brad Rajchel (Orlando, Fla.) as time expired.
The Falcons pushed the margin to six points, tallying three scores in the first two minutes of the second quarter, including a pair of goals by senior Alex Arcidiacono (La Jolla, Calif.). The Broncos got back on the board with a 6-on-5 goal at the 3:21 mark, but Air Force responded with two more scores to extend the lead to 9-2. With another Santa Clara goal in the final 20 seconds of the period, the Falcons went into the intermission with a six-goal advantage.
In the third period, Air Force pushed its lead to eight goals, outscoring Santa Clara 3-1. The Broncos were credited with the first score of the final stanza when a shot was blocked into the net. However, the Falcons tallied a pair of back-to-back man-up goals to reach their largest advantage of the game, 14-5, with 5:48 remaining in the contest. Santa Clara closed out the contest with four unanswered scores, including three in the final three minutes when Air Force cleared its bench, but it was not enough to make a comeback.
Stedman led the Falcons' offense with five goals, while Cruz Smithson (Sr., Capistrano Beach, Calif.) scored three goals and Rajchel and Arcidiacono added two each. Air Force, which has struggled with its 6-on-5 offense this season, capitalized on its man-up opportunities against the Broncos, scoring on four of five chances.
The Falcons return to action next Saturday, Oct. 13, when they play another home conference contest. Air Force hosts WWPA foe UC Davis at 1:00 p.m. in the Cadet Natatorium.
No. 13 Air Force 14, No. 18 Santa Clara 9