Falcons host conference foe Santa Clara, Oct. 18
Oct. 16, 2014
THIS WEEK: Air Force, (8-11 overall, 0-1 WWPA) hosts Santa Clara (9-6, 1-0 WWPA), Saturday, Oct. 18, at 11 a.m. at the Academy’s Cadet Natatorium. The Falcons are ranked 13th in the nation while the Broncos are ranked 14th.
WATCH THE FALCONS ONLINE: The Air Force-Santa Clara game will be video streamed live (and archived) at GoAirForceFalcons.com/videos.
LAST WEEK: The Falcons posted a 2-2 record at the annual SoCal Tournament in Los Angeles. After falling to fourth-ranked USC and 12th-ranked Pepperdine, Air Force went on a three-game winning streak, its longest since a four-game winning streak last season. Air Force defeated No. 20 St. Francis, 13-12 in overtime, and No. 17 Loyola-Marymount, 12-9, in the final two games of the tournament. Air Force then defeated Pomona-Pitzer, 14-10, on Oct. 13. In the five games last week, Ben Rogers led the Falcons with 10 goals. Jantz Johnson and Robby Stiefel each had nine goals. Stiefel also led the Falcons with 11 assists and 10 steals.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: Santa Clara is 9-6 overall and 1-0 in the WWPA. UC San Diego leads the WWPA with a 3-0 record while Santa Clara is second. Air Force is fifth at 0-1 in league play. Santa Clara is fifth in the league in scoring offense (9.40) and second in scoring defense (8.07). Last weekend, Santa Clara beat Cal Baptist (9-8) and Redlands (7-6). The Broncos have won two straight and three of the last four.
THE SERIES: Air Force and Santa Clara have met 48 times and the Falcons hold a 36-12 lead in the series that began in 1971. Last season, Santa Clara beat Air Force, 13-7.
SEASON LEADERS: Senior Jantz Johnson leads the team with 34 goals and is second on the team with 48 points. Robby Stiefel leads the team with 34 assists and 57 points and is fourth on the team with 23 goals. Ben Rogers is second on the team with 27 goals while Dominic Vicino is fourth with 22. Stiefel leads the team with 37 steals. Sophomore Max Benson leads the team with 184 saves.
BENSON WWPA PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore goalie Max Benson was named the Kap7 WWPA Player of the Week as he helped lead the Falcons to three wins. Benson made 69 saves in five games, including two saves on five-meter penalty shots, as the Falcons posted a 3-2 record. In the final game of the road trip, Benson made a career high 20 saves, including stopping two penalty shots when the Falcons were trailing, 8-6. One save came late in the second quarter while the other came early in the third quarter, prior to the Falcons coming back for the 14-10 win.
CONFERENCE LEADERS: Senior Jantz Johnson is eighth in the league with 1.79 goals per game (34 in 19 games). Robby Stiefel leads the league in assists with 1.79 per game (34 in 19 games) and leads the league in steals with 1.95 per game (37 in 19 games). Sophomore Max Benson is third in the league with 10.82 saves per game. As a team, Air Force is third in the league in scoring offense (9.95 goals per game) and is seventh in scoring defense (13.16 per game)
THE HEAD COACH: Jeff Heidmous, the winningest coach in program history, is in his 22nd season coaching the Air Force water polo team. He coached the team from 1981-1998 and then spent 11 years working as a senior administrator in the Air Force athletic department. He returned as head coach of the Falcons in 2010. During his 21-year coaching tenure at the Academy, Heidmous has posted a 286-272-1 career record. He has led the Falcons to three WWPA titles, including 2012 when Air Force captured its first WWPA Championship since 1994. In 2012, the Falcons posted their best-ever NCAA finish, taking fourth place at the national tournament In 2012, Heidmous was tabbed the WWPA Coach of the Year for the third time in his career.