Oct. 28, 2012
USAFA, Colo. - In the final game of its home tournament, the 13th-ranked Air Force water polo team captured a 19-12 victory over Fresno Pacific Sunday afternoon at the Cadet Natatorium. With the victory, the Falcons move to 14-9 overall on the season.
The contest stayed close throughout the opening period, with Air Force taking the initial lead with a score from junior Andrew Hamilton (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), while Fresno Pacific tallied the next two goals, including a 6-on-5 score to grab a 2-1 advantage at the 3:00 mark. There was a flurry of scoring with just under two minutes to play, with a combined four goals in less than a minute. Jantz Johnson (So., Murrieta, Calif.) and Josh Stedman (Jr., Brea, Calif.) registered consecutive goals to put Air Force back on top, while the Sunbirds tied the score again with a goal less than 20 seconds later. Momentum switched back to the Falcons with a quick score from Ben Rogers (Fr., Thousand Oaks, Calif.), as Air Force held on to its one-goal lead for the last 58 seconds of the quarter.
The Falcons pushed their advantage to three goals with two scores in the first three minutes of the second period, but Fresno Pacific was able to cut the margin back to 6-5. A tally from Petar Jackovich (So., New Lenox, Ill.) with 3:40 remaining in the half put Air Force back up by two as they headed into the intermission.
Air Force pulled away in the third quarter, registering the first three goals before outscoring Fresno Pacific 8-3 in the period. Senior captain Brad Rajchel (Orlando, Fla.) notched the Falcons' only 6-on-5 goal of the game with 23 seconds on the clock to give Air Force a 15-8 advantage going into the final stanza.
In the fourth quarter, the Falcons led by as many as eight goals, including an 18-10 advantage with 3:28 to play, before allowing consecutive scores from the Sunbirds. Freshman Lucas Villa (Folsom, Calif.) became the latest Air Force rookie to record his first career goal, finding the back of the net with eight seconds remaining to give the Falcons the 19-12 win.
Hamilton was the Falcons' leading goal scorer with three, while Johnson, Stedman, Rogers, Garrett Womack (Sr., Redlands, Calif.), Jackovich and Rajchel all added two goals each. In addition, team captain Dillon Fisher (Sr., Orange, Calif.) recorded a team-high five assists, while Max Reilly (Jr., Davis, Calif.) added three helpers to bring his total to 11 for the weekend.
The Falcons close out their regular season schedule next weekend Nov. 2-4, when they head to California for three conference contests, visiting Pomona-Pitzer, Loyola Marymount and Whittier.
No. 13 Air Force 19, Fresno Pacific 12
FPU - 3 2 3 4 - 12
Air Force - 4 3 8 4 - 19
FPU Scoring: Vlasic 3, Seymour 3, Lyon 2, Wilson 2, Boogaard, Lopez-Lamb
AF Scoring: Hamilton 3, J. Johnson 2, Stedman 2, Rogers 2, G. Womack 2, Jackovich 2, Rajchel 2, Reilly, Smithson, Duncan, Villa