No. 13 Air Force Splits Two at The Rodeo
Oct. 21, 2012
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The 13th-ranked Air Force water polo team concluded competition at The Rodeo, hosted by Santa Clara, on Sunday, splitting its two games. After falling to No. 4 Stanford, 14-3, the Falcons earned a 17-15 victory over Fresno Pacific to wrap up the weekend.
In Air Force's first game of the afternoon, Stanford offense was dominant in the first half, as the Cardinal took an 8-0 advantage early in the second period before senior captain Brad Rajchel (Orlando, Fla.) put the Falcons on the board. Stanford's lead grew to 11-1 at the intermission, with freshman Bret Bonnani scoring eight of his nine goals in the first half.
In the third period, each team scored two goals, with Rajchel and Andrew Hamilton (Jr., Mechanicsburg, Pa.) finding the back of the net for the Falcons, while Stanford came up with the only score of the fourth quarter.
Air Force rebounded in its second game of the day, edging out Fresno Pacific in a shootout. The two teams combined for 10 goals in the first period alone, with the Falcons taking a 6-4 advantage into the second quarter. A pair of goals by freshman Ben Rogers (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) in the first minute of the second period pushed Air Force's lead to 8-4, but the Sunbirds answered with three straight scores. A goal from senior Mike Radosevich (Temecula, Calif.) with just over a minute remaining in the quarter brought the score to 9-7 at the break.
The Falcons were able to extend the margin in the third period, paced by junior Josh Stedman (Brea, Calif.), who tallied four goals in a span of three minutes. Leading 14-11 going into the final stanza, Air Force was up by as many as four goals in the fourth quarter, but Fresno Pacific tallied three of the final four scores to account for the final 17-15 margin.
Stedman anchored the Falcons' offense, finishing the game with a career-best nine goals. Rajchel added three tallies, Rogers notched two goals and Radosevich, Garrett Womack (Sr., Redlads, Calif.) and Cruz Smithson (Sr., Capistrano Beach, Calif.) contributed the final three scores for Air Force.
The Falcons (10-9 overall) return home next weekend, Oct. 26-28, when they host Cal Baptist and Fresno Pacific in the Air Force Tournament.
No. 4 Stanford 14, No. 13 Air Force 3