Air Force Knocks Off a Pair of Ranked Teams at The Rodeo
Oct. 23, 2010
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -
On the first day of The Rodeo, hosted by Santa Clara, the Air Force water polo team picked up wins over nationally ranked teams for the first time this season. The Falcons defeated both Bucknell and Brown, which are tied for 20th in the nation, by a single goal to improve to 9-11 overall on the season.
In its first game of the day, Air Force took a 2-1 lead over Bucknell after one period and increased its advantage to 4-2 at the half. The Bison cut the margin back to a single goal at the end of the third quarter, as Air Force took a 6-5 lead into the final stanza.
The Falcons held an 8-6 advantage with just a minute remaining in the game and had the chance to go up by three goals, but were unable to convert on an open scoring opportunity. Meanwhile, Bucknell scored another goal in the final minute of the contest, but the Falcons held on for the 8-7 victory.
Air Force had a balanced offense against Bucknell, with Cruz Smithson (So., Capistrano Beach, Calif.), Bobby Geiger (Sr., Buellton, Calif.) and Matt Shields (Sr., Gilroy, Calif.) tallying two goals each, while seniors Kurt Lemmen (Orlando, Fla.) and Matt Versage (Merced, Calif.) added the final two Air Force scores. In addition, senior Kurt Wallin (Temecula, Calif.) recorded a team-best five assists.
The Falcons closed out the day with another game against a 20th-ranked team, facing Brown. In a high-scoring opening quarter, the Bears took the early lead, getting out to a 5-4 advantage after the first period. However, Air Force outscored Brown in the second quarter to take a 7-6 lead at the half.
Air Force increased its lead over Brown to 10-7 after three periods of action, but the Bears rallied in the final stanza, outscoring the Falcons, 3-1. However, it was not enough, as Air Force held on for its second win of the day, grabbing the 11-10 victory.
Freshman Josh Stedman (Brea, Calif.) led the Falcons’ offense against Brown, registering three goals, while Smithson, Versage and Garrett Womack (So., Redlands, Calif.) added two goals each. Also scoring for the Falcons in the game were Geiger and Wallin.
Meanwhile, sophomore goalkeeper Mike Fish (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), who tallied a career-best 15 stops against Bucknell, added 14 saves versus Brown.
The Falcons play a pair of conference games in The Rodeo tomorrow, facing No. 11 UC Davis at 10:15 a.m. (PT), while wrapping up the weekend with a game against 13th-ranked host Santa Clara at 2:00 p.m.
Air Force 8, No. 20 Bucknell 7
Air Force 2 2 2 2 8
Bucknell 1 1 3 2 7
AF Scoring: Smithson 2, Geiger 2, Shields 2, Lemmen, Versage
Bucknell Scoring: Kalter 4, Hlan, Hyden, Schwartz
Air Force 11, No. 20 Brown 10
Brown 5 1 1 3 10
Air Force 4 3 3 1 11
Brown Scoring: Stefanovic 6, McNamara 2, Hood, Gladych
AF Scoring: Stedman 3, Smithson 2, Versage 2, Womack 2, Geiger, Wallin