Oct. 26, 2012
USAFA, Colo. - Despite being plagued with turnovers, the 13th-ranked Air Force water polo team was able to secure an 11-8 victory over No. 19 Cal Baptist Friday evening in the opening game of the Air Force Tournament. With the win, the Falcons improve to 11-9 on the season, while the Lancers drop to 13-10 on the year.
Cal Baptist took the early lead, scoring a 6-on-5 goal just over a minute into the contest, while junior Josh Stedman (Brea, Calif.) tallied his first score of the game at the 5:06. A goal from sophomore Petar Jackovich (New Lenox, Ill.) with under three minutes to play in the period gave Air Force a 2-1 lead going into the second quarter.
The Lancers tied the score once more with a goal to open the second period, but Stedman answered with a score on the Falcons' next possession to put Air Force back on top. While senior captain Brad Rajchel (Orlando, Fla.) scored after an exclusion foul by the Lancers' goalie to give the Falcons a two-goal cushion, Cal Baptist cut the margin back to one with 4:49 to play in the quarter. Despite a missed penalty shot midway through the period, Air Force was able to regain its two-point lead with a score from Jackovich before going into the intermission.
Cal Baptist scored the first two goals of the third period to tie the score at 5-5 with 3:25 on the clock, but Stedman answered less than a minute later with his third score of the game. A 6-on-4 goal by junior Max Reilly (Davis, Calif.) pushed the Falcons' lead back to two goals, while the Lancers scored at the 1:28 mark to go into the final stanza trailing 7-6.
Air Force struck first in the fourth quarter, as freshman Ben Rogers (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) got on the board less than a minute into the period. Garrett Womack (Sr., Redlands, Calif.) and Stedman each added man-up goals to bring the Falcons' advantage to 10-6. It proved to be too much of a deficit for the Lancers, who outscored Air Force 2-1 in the final 1:30, including a goal with just four seconds on the clock.
Stedman led the Falcons with four goals, while Jackovich and Reilly tallied two scores each. Meanwhile, senior goalkeeper Mike Fish (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) finished the contest with 15 saves.
The Falcons are back in action tomorrow with two more games. Air Force will host Fresno Pacific at 9:00 a.m., while taking on Cal Baptist once more with a contest at 7:00 p.m.
No. 13 Air Force 11, No. 19 Cal Baptist 8
Cal Baptist - 1 2 3 2 - 8
Air Force - 2 3 2 4 - 11
CBU Scoring: Puig 2, Custance 2, Vanjoff, Rodriguez, Gleason, J. Jizmejian
AF Scoring: Stedman 4, Jackovich 2, Reilly 2, Rajchel, Rogers, G. Womack