No. 18 Air Force Opens Season at Triton Invitational
Sept. 1, 2011
The 18th-ranked Air Force water polo team opens the 2011 season this weekend, Sept. 3-4, as it travels to La Jolla, Calif., for the annual Triton Invitational, hosted by conference rival UC San Diego.
The Falcons play two games on Saturday, facing Cal Lutheran and the 12th-ranked host Tritons. On Sunday, Air Force takes on a pair of WWPA foes, facing No. 8 Loyola Marymount, before wrapping up the weekend with a contest versus La Verne.
SCOUTING THE FALCONS...
HEAD COACH Jeff Heidmous...
During his 18-year coaching tenure at the Academy, Heidmous has posted a 245-220-1 career ledger. All 18 of his teams have finished the season nationally ranked in the top 20, including 15 top-15 rankings and five top-10 finishes. In addition, between 1988 and 1996, Heidmous led the Falcons to nine straight appearances in the Western Water Polo Association championship game (then a conference record), winning a pair of WWPA titles (1990 and 1994). His 1994 team compiled a perfect 12-0 record in conference action. Heidmous also led four teams to the NCAA Championship tournament and coached 10 players to 13 All-America citations.
SCOUTING THE KINGSMEN...
Cal Lutheran is coached by Craig Rond, in his ninth year at the helm of the program. The Kingsmen are led by 2010 All-American Brandon Gross, who notched a team-best 61 goals last season, while fellow senior co-captain Jordan Meaney added 46 goals in 2010 to help pace the team.
SCOUTING THE TRITONS...
UCSD is coached by Denny Harper, in his 32nd year at the helm of the program. The Tritons return four starters this season, including All-Americans Brian Donohoe and David Morton. Donohoe was the Tritons' leading goal scorer in 2010, while Morton registered 216 saves and a .617 save percentage.
SCOUTING THE LIONS...
LMU is coached by John Loughran, in his 15th year at the helm of the program. The Lions are led by two-time All-American Edgaras Asajavicius, who led LMU with 54 goals in 2010. Meanwhile, the Lions will have to replace seven seniors, including four-time All-Americans Tibor Forai and Andy Stevens and two-time All-American Andrew Aki.
SCOUTING THE LEOPARDS...
La Verne is coached by Alex La, in his fifth year leading the program. Among the leaders for the Leopards is 2010 All-American Emerson Gant.
Saturday's game between Air Force and UC San Diego is the 67th in the series, with the Tritons holding a 52-14 advantage. UCSD won a pair of games against Air Force last season, including an 11-6 victory at the Triton Invitational.
Air Force and Loyola Marymount meet for the 44th time in series history this weekend, with the Lions holding a narrow 22-21 edge in the series. LMU has won 15 straight contests between the two teams, including a pair of victories in 2010.
Finally, Air Force is 17-1 all-time against La Verne, including a pair of wins over the Leopards in 2010.
AIR FORCE PICKED FIFTH IN WWPA PRESEASON COACHES POLL...
UC Davis earned one first place vote and 107 points to earn second place in the voting, while UC San Diego had two first place votes and 102 points to place third. Santa Clara (92 points) and Air Force (79 points) rounded out the top five.
Redlands was selected to finish sixth in the WWPA, followed by Claremont and Pomona-Pitzer in seventh and eighth place, respectively. Rounding out the conference rankings were Whittier, Chapman, Occidental and La Verne.
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