No. 17 Air Force Falls to No. 13 Loyola Marymount, 10-7
Oct. 14, 2011
USAFA, Colo. - Despite a team-best five points from sophomore Josh Stedman (Brea, Calif.), the No. 17 Air Force water polo team dropped a 10-7 contest to 13th-ranked conference rival Loyola Marymount Friday evening at the Cadet Natatorium. With the loss, the Falcons fall to 5-10 overall on the season and 3-5 in the Western Water Polo Association, while the Lions move to 10-6 overall and 7-1 in the WWPA.
The first goal of the contest came early, as a score from All-American Edgaras Asajavicius gave LMU a 1-0 lead just 20 seconds into the game. However, more than six minutes went by before the Lions tallied another goal to take a 2-0 advantage at the end of the opening period.
Air Force's first score came more than halfway through the second quarter, as junior Cruz Smithson (Capistrano Beach, Calif.) found the back of the net with an assist by classmate Garrett Womack (Redlands, Calif.) at the 3:39 mark, cutting the margin to 2-1. Meanwhile, Loyola Marymount scored on its next possession to regain a two-goal cushion at the intermission.
With the first half characterized by defense, the third period was marked by offense, particularly for the Lions. Although Smithson brought the Falcons' back within a point with a 6-on-5 goal at the 6:45 mark in the quarter, LMU went on a 6-2 run over the remainder of the period. Air Force's greatest opportunity to cut into their deficit came at the end of the third period, as it held a 6-on-4 advantage with 11 seconds remaining. However, the Falcons were unable to get a shot off and went into the final period trailing 9-4.
Sophomore Andrew Hamilton (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), the Falcons' leading scorer on the season, registered his only tally of the game in the first minute of the fourth quarter, but both teams began to slow down offensively. An LMU goal with 1:06 left on the clock helped the Lions match their largest advantage of the contest, but Stedman tallied two scores in the final minute of play for the Falcons. Stedman was able to convert a penalty shot with 47 seconds remaining, while adding another goal with just four seconds on the clock to bring the final score to 10-7.
Air Force's biggest weakness was its inability to capitalize on their 6-on-5 opportunities, going 0-of-3 in the first half and 1-of-3 in the second half. In contrast, Loyola Marymount had just two 6-on-5 opportunities, scoring on one of them.
Stedman's three goals and two assists led the Falcons, while Smithson added two goals and an assist. Also scoring for Air Force were Hamilton and junior Brad Rajchel (Winter Park, Fla.). For the Lions, Asajavicius and freshman Joe Ferretti led the team with four goals each.
The Falcons are back in action next weekend when they take part in The Rodeo, hosted by WWPA rival Santa Clara.
No. 13 Loyola Marymount 10, No. 17 Air Force 7