Nov. 22, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. - In a triple-overtime thriller, the Air Force water polo team came up short against 15th-ranked Loyola Marymount Friday afternoon, falling 11-10, in the opening round of the 2013 Western Water Polo Association Championship, hosted by UC Davis.
The fifth-seeded Falcons, who came back from a 10-8 fourth-quarter deficit, were led by Davis native Max Reilly and fellow senior Andrew Hamilton (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), who each registered three goals. Meanwhile, freshman goalkeeper Max Benson (Ann Arbor, Mich.), starting in just the third game of his career, had an outstanding effort, tallying 14 saves.
Reilly was the first to get on the scoreboard, giving Air Force an early 1-0 lead over the fourth-seeded Lions, but after a goal by Andy Santala (So., Aliso Viejo, Calif.) put the Falcons ahead 2-1, Loyola Marymount went on a 4-0 run. Trailing 5-2 early in the second period, Air Force responded with a 6-on-5 score by Petar Jackovich (Jr., New Lenox, Ill.) and a penalty goal from senior captain Josh Stedman (Brea, Calif.) to cut the margin to one going into the intermission.
The Falcons tied the score at 5-5 just 23 seconds into the third period with a score from Reilly, but the Lions added two more quick goals. Hamilton knotted the game at 7-7 with back-to-back tallies midway through the third stanza, but LMU ended the period with a 9-8 advantage.
Scoring a man-up goal with 3:35 remaining in regulation, Loyola Marymount regained its two-point cushion, but Zack Kamai (So., Irvine, Calif.) tallied a 6-on-5 goal of his own a minute later to bring Air Force back within one. The equalizer came with Hamilton's third tally of the game, an extra-man goal with 50 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Air Force had an opportunity to capture the victory in the waning seconds of regulation, but a penalty shot by Santala was stopped by LMU goalkeeper Kirk Wilenius, sending the contest into extra periods.
Neither team was able to score in the first two overtime periods, setting up the first sudden victory period. Again, strong defense by both squads led to three more scoreless minutes, leading to yet another sudden victory session. This time, the Lions were able to break the stalemate, as Jon Beck tallied the game-winner, his only score of the contest, with 1:03 remaining in the period.
With the loss, Air Force (5-14) will compete in the fifth-place contest on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 10:30 a.m. (PT). The Falcons will face the loser of today's first-round match-up between third-seed Santa Clara and sixth-seed Cal Baptist.
No. 15 Loyola Marymount 11, Air Force 10 (3OT)
Air Force - 2 2 4 2 0 0 0 0 - 10
LMU - 3 2 4 1 0 0 0 1 - 11
AF Scoring: Reilly 3, Hamilton 3, Santala, Jackovich, Stedman, Kamai
LMU Scoring: Mitrovic 2, Cuozzo 2, Jennis 2, Ferretti, McGee, Testman, Coldren, Beck