13th-Ranked Falcons Defeat No. 17 UC Davis, 15-11
Oct. 13, 2012
Using a balanced offense, the 13th-ranked Air Force water polo team earned a 15-11 victory over 17th-ranked conference foe UC Davis Saturday afternoon at the Cadet Natatorium. With the win, the Falcons move to 8-6 overall on the season and 7-2 in WWPA action, while the Aggies drop to 11-10 overall and 10-3 in the Western Water Polo Association.
Air Force took an early lead with a score from senior captain Brad Rajchel (Orlando, Calif.) on the Falcons' first possession of the game, while junior Andrew Hamilton (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) added another goal less than a minute later. While a man-up score by the Aggies cut the margin to 2-1 midway through the opening period, Air Force added goals from Cruz Smithson (Sr., Capistrano Beach, Calif.) and Max Reilly (Jr., Davis, Calif.) to take a 4-1 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The Aggies tallied a pair of goals in the first two minutes of the second period to cut their deficit back to a single point, but Air Force extended their lead with two scores in less than a minute. After another 6-on-5 goal by UC Davis, the Falcons notched three scores in the final two minutes of the quarter, including a goal from Rajchel with just three seconds left on the clock, to take a 9-5 lead at the break.
UC Davis made a run in the third period, again registering the first two goals. Air Force goalie Mike Fish (Sr., Manhattan Beach, Calif.) came up with a big stop on a 5-meter penalty shot by the Aggies, as the Falcons went on to score the next two goals, including a penalty shot by Jantz Johnson (So., Murrieta, Calif.). However, UC Davis closed out the period with two unanswered scores, cutting the margin to 11-8 going into the final stanza.
Senior Mike Radosevich (Temecula, Calif.) registered the first goal of the fourth quarter, a 6-on-4 goal with 5:12 remaining, while Reilly and Hamilton each added scores, as the Falcons pushed their advantage to six goals. Following a power play goal by UC Davis, junior Josh Stedman (Brea, Calif.) tallied his first goal of the game on a man-up opportunity with 1:41 remaining to give Air Force a 15-9 advantage. Meanwhile, two Aggie scores in the last 40 seconds accounted for the final margin.
Rajchel was the Falcons' leading goal scorer with four, while Reilly added three goals and two assists. Hamilton, Johnson and Radosevich each tallied two goals, while Stedman added a team-high three assists and four steals.
Air Force is back on the road next week, visiting UC San Diego in a conference match-up on Oct. 18, while heading to The Rodeo, hosted by Santa Clara, Oct. 20-21.
No. 13 Air Force 15, No. 17 UC Davis 11