Falcons Begin Season At UC San Diego Triton Tournament
Sept. 4, 2003
The Air Force water polo team begins its regular season Saturday at UC San Diego's Triton Invitational, Sept. 6-7. The Falcons face off against La Verne at 2:15 p.m. followed by a game at 6 p.m. against UC Irvine.
Air Force looks to its nine seniors to lead the team this season and to its three co-captains, offensive specialist C1C Scott Butler, defensive specialist C1C Micah Peterson, and goalie C1C Brandon Shroyer. Shroyer had a banner season in 2002 with 242 saves, 42 steals, and 15 assists. He was selected to the WWPA All-Tournament team at the conference championships. Butler, in addition to leading the 2001 team in scoring, also led the team in steals with 42. Peterson was second in assists with 34 and led the team in steals with 44. Other seniors who are looking to contribute to the team are goalie Kelly Greiner, Kirk Reimer, Mitch Adams, Chris Palmer, Eric Baber, and Vincent Urso.
The junior class will also see some good travel time as the Falcons have seven players competing for top spots. Goalie Jared Jones had 30 saves in 2002 and is looking to challenge Shroyer for the starting position. Murphey Morgan, a 6'6 lefthander with blazing speed was a starter in 2002 with 41 goals, 52 assists, 37 steals, and 14 prevented scores. Josh Jewett, the team's most improved player last year started and contributed with 29 goals, 26 assists, 36 steals and led the team in drawn ejections with 34. Chris Nary saw substantial playing time in 2002 and is looking to start this upcoming season. Nary is from Hawaii and his father is the head coach at Chaminade. Eric Swenson from San Clemente, Calif., and Brian Woolley from Fresno will use their quickness to draw the needed ejections and score the quick goals. Matt "Beef" Herrera will be looking to challenge Peterson and Adams for the 2-meter defender position.
Leading the sophomore class will be Jeff Donaldson, Justin Perkins and lefthander Zach Carey out of Houston, Texas. Donaldson and Perkins both had a chance to travel in 2002 and all three will be competing with the 16 juniors and seniors for one of the coveted traveling spots.
The freshman class will be 11-strong and could be the best class to enter the Academy in the last five years. Top recruit Brian McShane from Chicago has traveled with the U.S. National Youth Team and with his size, 6'4, 200 lb, and speed, 52+ in the 100 backstroke, should break into the team's top 10 by the San Diego trip. Danny Kimmich played for one of the top teams in the nation, the Bishops School of San Diego, and has also proved he can put the ball in the goal. Kimmich and McShane were both high school All-Americans.
On the coaching side, Capt. Brian Pendergast returns for his second year as assistant coach at Air Force after replacing Craig Ackley last season. Craig Thomas, a 1997 AFA graduate and 1996 MVP in the goal will be back as a goalie coach and will eventually take the assistant reigns from Pendergast when his tour ends at the Academy.
The Falcons won 10 of their last 12 games to finish the 2002 season 16-12 overall and 14-6 in the 15-team Western Water Polo Association. Air Force finished the season ranked 16th in the nation.
Trition Tournament Schedule:
Group 3 - Loyola Marymount vs. Whittier Saturday, Sept. 6 @ 8:00 AM
Group 2 - UC San Diego vs. Pomona-Pitzer Saturday, Sept. 6 @ 9:15 AM
Group 1 - UC Irvine vs. La Verne Saturday, Sept. 6 @ 10:30 AM
Group 3 - UC Santa Barbara vs. Whittier Saturday, Sept. 6 @ 11:45 AM
Group 2 - Redlands vs. Pomona-Pitzer Saturday, Sept. 6 @ 1:00 PM
Group 1 - Air Force vs. La Verne Saturday, Sept. 6 @ 2:15 PM
Group 3 - Loyola Marymount vs. UC Santa Barbara Saturday, Sept. 6 @ 3:30 PM
Group 2 - UC San Diego vs. Redlands Saturday, Sept. 6 @ 4:45 PM
Group 1 - UC Irvine vs. Air Force Saturday, Sept. 6 @ 6:00 PM
3rd Group 1 vs. 3rd Group 3 Sunday, Sept. 7 @ 8:00 AM
2nd Group 1 vs. 2nd Group 3 Sunday, Sept. 7 @ 9:15 AM
1st Group 1 vs. 1st Group 3 Sunday, Sept. 7 @ 10:30 AM
3rd Group 1 vs. 3rd Group 2 Sunday, Sept. 7 @ 11:45 AM
2nd Group 1 vs. 2nd Group 2 Sunday, Sept. 7 @ 1:00 PM
1st Group 1 vs. 1st Group 2 Sunday, Sept. 7 @ 2:15 PM
3rd Group 2 vs. 3rd Group 3 Sunday, Sept. 7 @ 3:30 PM
2nd Group 2 vs. 2nd Group 3 Sunday, Sept. 7 @ 4:45 PM
1st Group 2 vs. 1st Group 3
Sunday, Sept. 7 @ 6:00 PM