Nov. 3, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A fourth-quarter rally fell short, as the 13th-ranked Air Force water polo team lost a narrow 9-8 contest to 11th-ranked conference foe Loyola Marymount Saturday afternoon at the Burns Aquatic Center.
The opening period was close between the two teams, with Loyola Marymount (14-9, 10-2 WWPA) taking a 3-2 edge, aided in part by a pair of 5-meter goals. The Lions pulled away in the second quarter, outscoring the Falcons 4-1 in the period, with Air Force's lone goal coming from senior captain Brad Rajchel (Orlando, Fla.) at the 1:17 mark.
Air Force (15-10, 8-4 WWPA) limited LMU to just one goal in the third period, while getting scores from juniors Andrew Hamilton (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) and Max Reilly (Davis, Calif.), to cut into their 7-3 halftime deficit.
Trailing 8-5 to begin the final stanza, the Falcons registered the first three scores of the period--including a pair of man-up goals by junior Josh Stedman (Brea, Calif.)--to knot the score at 8-8 with just under three minutes to play. However, the Lions found the back of the net with just 17 seconds remaining in regulation to escape with the one-goal victory.
Both teams struggled to score on their 6-on-5 opportunites, with Air Force finishing just 2-of-9 for the game, while Loyola Marymount was 1-of-5, while converting on two of its three penalty shots.
Cruz Smithson (Sr., Capistrano Beach, Calif.), Hamilton and Stedman each tallied two goals to lead the Falcons' offense, while Stedman also added a team-best two assists and two steals. Meanwhile, senior goalkeeper Mike Fish (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) was credited with 12 saves.
The Falcons wrap up their regular-season slate tomorrow with a 12:00 p.m. (PT) contest at WWPA foe Whittier.
No. 11 Loyola Marymount 9, No. 13 Air Force 8
Air Force - 2 1 2 3 - 8
LMU - 3 4 1 1 - 9
AF Scoring: Hamilton 2, Smithson 2, Stedman 2, Rajchel, Reilly
LMU Scoring: Mitrovic 4, Menis 2, Coldren, Colton, Villarreal