No. 20 Air Force Finishes Sixth at WWPA Championship
Nov. 23, 2008
CLAREMONT, Calif. - Suffering a heartbreaking overtime loss to No. 16 Redlands, the 20th-ranked Air Force water polo team placed sixth at the Western Water Polo Association Championship, being hosted by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Falcons, who entered the weekend as the sixth-seed, end their season with a 17-15 overall record, marking their highest win total since 2003.
While the game started out close, Redlands, seeded fourth in the tournament, began to pull away in the third quarter, leading 9-5 with just 52 seconds remaining in the the period. However, Air Force responded, scoring four unanswered goals over the next five minutes to tie the score.
The Bulldogs regained the lead with a score from Buddy Olds at the 3:17 mark in the final period, and as the clock began to wind down, it appeared that Redlands would escape with the win in regulation. However, following an Air Force timeout with two seconds on the clock, senior Joey Brewer (Clovis, Calif.) scored his first goal of the contest at the horn to send the game into overtime.
Redlands scored quickly in the first half of the overtime session to regain the lead, but sophomore Kurt Wallin (Temecula, Calif.) tied the contest once more with a goal just 18 seconds later. However, the Bulldogs scored two more unanswered goals to go back on top. With neither team able to score in the second half of the overtime period, Redlands was able to hang on for a 13-11 victory and fifth place in the WWPA.
Wallin and senior Tyler Hewko (Laguna Hills, Calif.) led the Air Force offense with three goals each, while sophomore Alex Churnside (Orange, Calif.) added two scores. Also adding goals for the Falcons during their crucial 4-0 run were senior captain Kevin Williams (River Forest, Ill.) and sophomore Matt Versage (Merced, Calif.).
At the end of the weekend, the WWPA All-Tournament teams were announced. Earning all-tournament honors for the Falcons were Hewko and goalkeeper David Ostrom (Mission Viejo, Calif.), who were both named to the second team. Hewko had nine goals total in the last three games, while Ostrom was credited with 28 saves on the weekend.
#4 Redlands 13, #6 Air Force 11 (OT)