Second-Seed Air Force Upset by Whittier at WWPA Championship
Nov. 20, 2009
ORANGE, Calif. -
Outscored 4-1 in the final quarter, the 14th-ranked Air Force water polo team, seeded second in the conference tournament, dropped a 10-9 decision to seventh-seed Whittier in the opening round of the 2009 Western Water Polo Association Championship.
While Whittier (19-12) scored within the first minute of the contest to take an early lead in the game, the Falcons, led by two goals from senior Alex Churnside (Orange, Calif.), came back to grab a 3-2 advantage by the end of the opening period. After an even-scoring second quarter, Air Force was able to hold on to a 6-5 advantage at the intermission.
After the Poets tied the game once more early in the third period, Churnside responded with back-to-back scores for the Falcons, giving Air Force a two-goal cushion going into the final stanza. However, Whittier opened the fourth quarter on a 3-0 scoring run, taking a 9-8 lead with 1:31 remaining in the contest.
Junior Kurt Wallin (Temecula, Calif.) tallied his first goal of the game with just 54 seconds remaining to tie the score at 9-9, but the Poets' Alex Perry notched his fifth score of the contest with 29 ticks on the clock, giving Whittier what would prove to be the game-winning goal.
Churnside led the Falcons' offense with his four goals, while Bobby Geiger (Jr., Buellton, Calif.) added two scores. Also scoring for Air Force were Jack Hines (Sr., Riverside, Calif.), Cruz Smithson (Fr., Capistrano Beach, Calif.) and Wallin.
In addition to getting five goals from Perry, Whittier received outstanding play from goalkeeper Casey Regehr. The nation's leader in total saves on the season, Regehr was credited with 21 stops against the Falcons.
Air Force (17-13) will move into the consolation semifinals of the WWPA Championship tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. and will face the loser of today's game between third-seed UC San Diego and sixth-seed Redlands.
Whittier 10, No. 14 Air Force 9
Whittier 2 3 1 4 10
Air Force 3 3 2 1 9
WC Scoring: Perry 5, Van Norman 2, Villa 2, Desai
AF Scoring: Churnside 4, Geiger 2, Smithson, Hines, Wallin