Water Polo Prepares For Conference Championships
Nov. 13, 2003
The Air Force water polo team finished its regular season last weekend with a 3-1 record against Western Water Polo Association opponents Loyola Marymount, Whittier College, Redlands, and La Verne, Nov. 8-9. The Falcons dropped their first match of the weekend against LMU, 7-4, and returned later that afternoon to defeat Whittier, 11-3. Air Force topped Redlands 7-2 the following day and ended the weekend with a 12-1 win over La Verne. The Falcons are now 11-2 in WWPA action and 16-9 overall.
Against LMU, junior Murphey Morgan led the Air Force offense with two goals followed by seniors Scott Butler and Micah Peterson with one each. Senior Brandon Shroyer had six saves in goal for the Falcons.
Against Whittier, Air Force finished the first period 5-1 over the Poets and ended the half up 7-1. The Falcons scored three more in the third before allowing two goals in the fourth for the 11-3 victory. Butler and junior Josh Jewett were the top scorers for Air Force with three goals each. Junior Chris Nary had two while senior Mitch Adams and juniors Matt Herrera and Morgan each had one.
Redlands was up 1-0 after the first period against the Falcons in the second day of competition. Air Force scored three to end the half 3-1 before returning with four more goals in the second half for the 7-4 win over Redlands. Senior Kirk Reimer and freshman Brian McShane each had two for the Falcons followed by Peterson, Jewett and Morgan with one each. In goal, Shroyer had eight saves to be named the game's MVP.
Nine Falcons found the back of the net in the Air Force won over La Verne. Butler led the Falcons offense with four goals while senior Eric Baber, Reimer, Herrera, Jewett, McShane, Morgan, juniors Eric Swenson and Brian Woolley each scored one. Shroyer recorded nine saves in goal and junior Jared Jones had five.
The Falcons return to action the weekend of Nov. 21-22 for the WWPA Championships hosted by University of Redlands in Redlands, Calif.
"Our no. 1 goal is to win the conference championship and to win a berth to the NCAA championships in December," said Air Force head coach Jeff Ehrlich. The 15-team conference championship should see the Falcons entering the tournament as the no. 3 seed.
"We're not going to overlook any of our competition and we'll definitely be prepared," said Ehrlich.
The Falcons lost only two of its conference games during the regular season to BYU-Hawaii (7-6) and LMU (7-4). And of Air Force nine overall losses during the season, seven were by a margin of three points or less.
"We feel that we still have some unfinished business," said Ehrlich. "Of our nine losses this season, a lot of them were close so we certainly feel that we can play with any team on any given day. We still need to put together a perfect game and we're always striving to reach our maximum potential."
Ehrlich pointed to the team's upperclassmen for the team's success this season. "Our senior leadership and our three senior team captains- Scott Butler, Micah Peterson and Brandon Shroyer- have helped us in our quest to compete for the WWPA championship."
Air Force is looking to improve upon last year's third-place finish after falling to 2002 champion UC San Diego. The Falcons have a week off before traveling to California for the conference championships.