Oct. 20, 2012
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The 13th-ranked Air Force water polo team split a pair of games on the first day of competition at The Rodeo, hosted by Santa Clara. The Falcons dropped a narrow 6-5 decision to 12th-ranked Brown, while earning a 9-6 victory over No. 17 Bucknell.
In the first game of the day, Air Force (9-8 overall) was first to get on the board, as senior captain Brad Rajchel (Orlando, Fla.) found the back of the net 16 seconds into the second period. However, Brown responded with three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead into the break.
The Bears' advantage grew to three goals with a score at the 4:31 mark in the third period, while a penalty goal by Cruz Smithson (Sr., Capistrano Beach, Calif.) brought the Falcons back within two points. However, Brown scored again in the period to take a 5-2 lead into the final stanza.
Junior Andrew Hamilton (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) opened the scoring in the fourth quarter for Air Force with a man-up goal in the first minute of the period, but Brown scored once more to regain its three-point advantage. The Falcons tallied two more goals over the remainder of the contest--a score from junior Josh Stedman (Brea, Calif.) with 3:20 on the clock and a goal by senior Mike Radosevich (Temecula, Calif.) in the final minute--but it was not enough to come up with the win.
Senior goalkeeper Mike Fish (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) had a strong performance for the Falcons, registering 13 saves against the Bears.
Bucknell took an early lead in the second game of the afternoon, scoring on a penalty shot in the first minute of action, but Air Force closed out the opening period with four straight scores, including a pair from junior Max Reilly (Davis, Calif.). The Falcons came up with the only goal of the second quarter, as Stedman notched his own penalty score to give Air Force a 5-1 advantage at the intermission.
Smithson tallied the first two goals of the third period to give the Falcons their largest lead of the contest before Bucknell finally got back on the scoreboard with 1:16 left in the quarter. Air Force tacked on two more goals to begin the last stanza, pushing its advantage to 9-2, while the Bison notched four goals in the final five minutes to account for the final score.
Against Bucknell, the Falcons' offense was led by a game-high four goals from Smithson. Meanwhile, Fish had another standout performance in goal, tallying 12 saves in three and a half quarters, while allowing just two goals by Bucknell.
Air Force closes out competition at The Rodeo tomorrow, with games against fourth-ranked Stanford and Fresno Pacific.
No. 12 Brown 6, No. 13 Air Force 5
Brown - 0 3 2 1 - 6
Air Force - 0 1 1 3 - 5
Brown Scoring: Stefanovic 3, Fox 2, Gallas
AF Scoring: Rajchel, Smithson, Hamilton, Stedman, Radosevich
No. 13 Air Force 9, No. 17 Bucknell 6
Air Force - 4 1 2 2 - 9
Bucknell - 1 0 1 4 - 6
AF Scoring: Smithson 4, Reilly 2, Hamilton, Stedman, G. Womack
Bucknell Scoring: Barron, Aleksic, Norton, Somers, Wattana, Kimble