Falcons head to Western Water Polo Association Championships
Nov. 19, 2014
THIS WEEK: Air Force, (14-14 overall, 4-2 WWPA) travels to Los Angeles, Calif., for the Western Water Polo Association Championships, Nov. 21-23, at the Burns Aquatics Center on the Loyola Marymount campus.
INSIDE THE TOURNAMENT: UC San Diego, ranked sixth in the nation, won the WWPA regular-season title with a perfect 6-0 mark. Air Force and UC Davis tied for second in the conference with a 4-2 record. Based on head-to-head competition, UC Davis claimed the No. 2 seed in the tournament. UC San Diego and UC Davis earned first-round byes. Air Force will face the No. 6 seed, California Baptist, on Friday, Nov. 21, at 2 pm PT. In the other first-round game, No. 4 seed Loyola Marymount faces No. 5 seed Santa Clara at 12:15 pm PT on Nov. 21. The semifinal games will be Saturday, Nov. 22, at 11:15 and 1:00 pm PT. The championship game set for Sunday, Nov. 23, at 1 p.m. PT. The winner of the WWPA Tournament gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Tickets to the 2014 WWPA Championships are on sale online at www.LMULions.com/Tickets.
LAST WEEK: Air Force was on a bye last weekend. Two weeks ago, the Falcons swept a pair of road conference games as the Falcons defeated Cal Baptist, 8-7 on Nov. 7, and Loyola Marymount, 10-9 on Nov. 9.
ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS: Sophomore Robby Stiefel (San Clemente, Calif.) was a first-team all-WWPA selection as he led the team with 49 assists and 61 steals. He was third on the team with 39 goals. Stiefel led the conference in steals per game with 2.18 and was fourth in assists per game with 1.75. Senior Petar Jackovich (New Lenox, Ill.) was named second-team all-conference. Jackovich was fifth on the team with 25 goals and also had 14 assists and 13 steals. Senior Dominic Vicino (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) was an honorable mention selection. Vicino was fourth on the team with 28 goals, third with 22 assists and second with 28 steals. A pair of Falcons were named to the WWPA all-freshman team. Garrett Fisk (Davis, Calif.) finished the season with 13 goals and 13 steals while Riley Thomas (Laguna Beach, Calif.) had 17 goals, 22 assists and 20 steals..
FALCON LEADERS: Senior Jantz Johnson leads the team, and is eighth in the league with 48 goals in 28 games (1.71 per game). Junior Ben Rogers is 13th in the conference with 41 goals in 28 games. Sophomore Robby Stiefel leads the conference in steals with 61 in 28 games. Stiefel is second in the WWPA with 49 assists. Sophomore goalie Max Benson is second in the conference with 10.62 saves per game (276 in 26 games).
TEAM NUMBERS: As a team, Air Force is third in the conference in scoring offense (10.14 goals per game) and seventh in scoring defense (12.07). The Falcons are fifth in assists per game (7.43), sixth in steals per game (8.14) and second in saves (11.89).
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 295-277-1 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.