No. 20 Air Force Earns 11-8 Win Over Redlands at WWPA Championship
Nov. 19, 2011
LA JOLLA, Calif. - Trailing by as many as three goals, the 20th-ranked Air Force water polo team posted an 11-8 victory over eighth-seed Redlands Saturday in the consolation semifinals of the Western Water Polo Association Championship, hosted by UC San Diego. With the win, Air Force (10-17) advances to Sunday's fifth-place contest versus seventh-seeded Claremont.
Air Force, seeded fifth in the tournament, scored the first goal of the game with a score from Andrew Hamilton (So., Mechanicsburg, Pa.) in the opening minute of play, but Redlands quickly came back to tie the game. While the Falcons held a 2-1 advantage at the end of the first period, the Bulldogs came back to take a 5-4 lead at the break.
Redlands registered the first two goals of the third quarter to push the margin to 7-4. However, Air Force closed out the period with three straight scores, including a pair from junior Cruz Smithson (Capistrano Beach, Calif.) in the final minute. The Falcons regained their lead with a goal from Josh Stedman (So., Brea, Calif.) at the 3:34 mark in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs answered with a score of their own just over a minute later.
With the score tied at 8-8, Air Force closed out the game with three goals in the final 1:40 to take the win. Junior Garrett Womack, a Redlands native, broke the stalemate against his hometown team, while Smithson added two more goals to seal the victory.
Smithson registered a game-high four goals to lead the Falcons, while Jantz Johnson (Fr., Murrieta, Calif.) added three scores. Meanwhile, senior Danny Harold (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) recorded 12 saves for the Falcons.
No. 20 Air Force 11, Redlands 8