From The Coach: Jeff Ehrlich
Sept. 25, 2002
Air Force 2-1 in Conference Play.....
This is the 32nd year of Falcon Water Polo and our quest for a Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Championship is well underway. With five Conference games this weekend in Santa Cruz, Air Force could make a strong statement on their chance to make the NCAA tournament the first weekend in December. Check out our player diary section as Captain C1C Lowell Wallace gives his thoughts on this weekend tournament.
Some new happenings around Falcon Waters........
New assistant coach Captain Brian Pendergast joins the staff for at least three years and brings with him a strong background in Air Force Water Polo. Brian was the best Water Polo player to come out of the Academy and was involved with the World Class Athlete program just missing a spot on the 2000 Olympic team. Brian is a very hands on coach getting in the water daily with the team and showing the guys he has not lost it.. Brian's quote is, "I want the players to stand on my shoulders and surpass anything I have accomplished at the Academy." Brian is from Chicago and will be key in recruiting the Midwest region. Brian's goal is to get Falcon water polo back in the Nation's top 10.
Our Parent weekend was a huge success with over 100 in attendance for dinner at Coach Ehrlich's. Special thanks to my wife Robin for getting everything organized. We had our Blue/Silver game Saturday morning and with redshirt Scott Butler, 2nd Lt. Dave Breitenbach and coach Captain Pendergast on the Silver team it was quite a battle for the Varsity. The Varsity still pulled out a 10-8 victory. The Varsity "A" team had seven players in the scoring column. Kirk Reimer (3) and Murphey Morgan (2) combined for 50 percent of the goals. Morgan, Lowell Wallace and Eric Baber each added two assists while Josh Jewett led the team with four steals. In the goal, C2C Junior Brandon Shroyer had six saves and three assists. After the water polo game the entire team enjoyed watching Falcon Football romp on the Big 10's Northwestern.
Our first tournament was in San Diego and Air Force came back with a 2-2 record. We had a chance to play no. 2 USC. This game gave us a chance to see how far we have to come as they worked us pretty good. We did come back on Sunday and beat two Conference teams--Santa Clara, 15-3, and Whittier, 13-6. The Shroyers once again hosted a beach barbecue and we had 75 in attendance. We were able to stay at the Navy submarine base right on the water...
Our second tournament was not very good for the ego but great for the character. We lost our MVP and captain Chris Smith for violating team rules and went through an adjustment period losing each of our four varsity games. We did beat Villanova with our junior varsity team. Going in to the fourth quarter we were "in it to win it" in each game. We now have to learn to put teams away in the fourth quarter and raise the intensity. We are confident that this will be a very good team by the end of the year.
Our third tournament, our JV team hosted the Southwest Zone consisting of seven teams. The JV team beat the University of Arizona, 14-10, the University of Colorado, 14-3 and the University of Utah, 16-9. This tournament gave valuable playing time to those who normally do not play or travel. Each of these teams are ranked high in the club standings.. It was also nice to give the Natatorium a test before our home tournament the end of October.
We are now looking forward to the next two weekends where we will be in California. Our goal in the next two weeks is to be back in the top 20 standings. Each of the last three years we have been in the top 20. -- Coach Jeff Ehrlich