Nov. 20, 2008
This weekend, the Air Force water polo team seeks a its first conference title since 1994, as it heads to the WWPA Championship, hosted by Claremont, Nov. 21-23. Ten teams from the WWPA will compete for the chance to earn an automatic berth to this year's NCAA Championship.
Following is the seeding for this weekend's conference championship:
1. Loyola Marymount
2. UC San Diego
3. UC Davis
5. Santa Clara
6. Air Force
10. UC Santa Cruz
Friday, Nov. 21
Game 1 - 8:00 am - No.7 Claremont vs. No.10 UC Santa Cruz
Game 2 - 9:45 am - No.8 Pomona vs. No.9 Chapman
Game 3 - 11:30 am - No.4 Redlands vs. No.5 Santa Clara
Game 4 - 1:15 pm - No.3 UC Davis vs. No.6 Air Force
Game 5 - 3:00 pm - No.2 UC San Diego vs. Winner Game 1
Game 6 - 4:45 pm - No.1 LMU vs. Winner Game 2
Saturday, Nov. 22
Game 7 - 8:00 am - Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 1
Game 8 - 9:45 am - Loser Game 4 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 9 - 11:30 am - Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 4 (Semifinals)
Game 10 - 1:15 pm - Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 3 (Semifinals)
Game 11 - 3:00 pm - Winner Game 7 vs. Loser Game 6 (Consolation)
Game 12 - 4:45 pm - Winner Game 8 vs. Loser Game 5 (Consolation)
Sunday, Nov. 23
Game 13 - 9:00 am - Loser Game 8 vs. Loser Game 7 (9th)
Game 14 - 10:45 am - Loser Game 12 vs. Loser Gm 11 (7th)
Game 15 - 12:30 pm - Winner Game 11 vs. Winner Gm 12 (5th)
Game 16 - 2:15 pm - Loser Game 9 vs. Loser Gm 10 (3rd)
Game 17 - 4:00 pm - Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 10 (Championship)
Last Year at the WWPA's...
Loyola Marymount captured its fourth conference title in five years, knocking off top-seed UC Davis at the 2007 WWPA Championship, held at the Air Force Academy.
Meanwhile, the Falcons' who entered the tournament as the fifth-seed, finished third in the tournament. Following a first-round upset of fourth-seed UC San Diego, Air Force fell to UC Davis, but rebounded with an overtime victory against second-seed Santa Clara in the third-place contest.
Last Time Out...
In their final weekend of regular season action, the Falcons went 3-1 against conference foes, defeating Chapman, La Verne and Claremont, while falling to then-sixth-ranked Loyola Marymount.
The top scorer for Air Force on the weekend was sophomore Bobby Geiger, who tallied 11 goals, while senior Tyler Hewko added eight scores.
Scouting the Falcons...
The Air Force Falcons, the sixth seed in this year's tournament, put together a regular-season record of 15-13 and 10-5 in the WWPA. The Falcons are currently ranked 20th in the latest coaches poll.
Sophomore Bobby Geiger is the team's leading goal scorer with 48 goals on the year, while juniors Alex Churnside and Jack Hines are tied for second with 39 goals each. Churnside also leads the team in assists and total points with 32 and 71, respectively. In goal, junior David Ostrom has tallied 204 saves on the year.
Scouting the Lions...
The top-seeded Loyola Marymount Lions, ranked eighth in the latest coaches poll, ended the regular season with a 17-9 overall record and 8-0 mark in the WWPA.
LMU is coached by WWPA Coach of the Year John Loughran, in his 12th season at the helm of the Lions' program. Sophomore goalkeeper Andy Stevens, who has notched 244 saves on the year, was named the 2008 WWPA Player of the Year, while leading scorer Edgaras Asajavicius (45 goals) earned WWPA Newcomer of the Year honors.
Scouting the Tritons...
The second-seed UC San Diego Tritons, currently ranked ninth in the nation, finished the regular season with an 18-9 overall record and 6-3 mark in the WWPA.
UCSD is coached by Denny Harper, in his 29th season at the helm of the program. Senior A.J. Kotanjian is the team's leading scorer with 59 goals on the season.
Scouting the Aggies...
The third-seed UC Davis Aggies, ranked 11th in the latest national coaches poll, finished the regular season with a 11-14 overall record and 8-4 mark in the WWPA.
UC Davis is coached by Steve Doten, in his eighth season at the helm of the program. Senior Adam Bennett leads the Aggies' offense with 54 goals on the season.
Scouting the Bulldogs...
The fourth-seed Redlands Bulldogs, currently ranked 16th in the nation, wrapped up the regular season with a 26-8 overall record and 17-3 mark in the WWPA. The Bulldogs are coming off a third-place finish at the SCIAC Championship.
Redlands is coached by Tom Whittemore, in his 21st season leading the Bulldogs. There are three players on the team with over 60 goals on the season, led by Brendan Meaney with 65 goals. Meanwhile, senior Andrew Becskehazy and sophomore Andrew Smith-Jones have each tallied 62 goals this year.
Scouting the Broncos...
The fifth-seed Santa Clara Broncos, currently ranked 15th in the nation, finished the regular season with a 15-12 overall record and 9-5 mark in the WWPA.
Santa Clara is coached by Keith Wilbur, in his seventh season at the helm of the program. The top scorer for the Broncos this season is junior Jack Wall, who has tallied 59 goals on the season.
Scouting the Stags...
The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags, seeded seventh in this year's tournament, currently hold an 8-20 overall record and 7-10 mark in the WWPA. The Stags finished sixth at last weekend's SCIAC Championship.
Claremont is coached by Greg Lonzo, in his second season at the helm of the program.
Scouting the Sagehens...
The Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens, receiving votes in the latest coaches poll, are seeded eighth in this year's tournament and finished the regular season with a 12-18 overall record and 11-6 mark in the WWPA. Last weekend, the Sagehens captured the title at the SCIAC Championship, notching a 12-9 victory over Cal Lutheran in the title game.
Pomona is coached by Alex Rodriguez, in his fourth season at the helm of the program. The Sagehens' offense is led by sophomores Ryan Balikian and Ben Hadley, who have each registered 59 goals on the season.
Scouting the Panthers...
The Chapman Panthers, seeded ninth in this year's championship, finished the regular season with a 14-13 overall record and 7-10 mark in the WWPA. This season marks the first time in 16 years that the Panthers have qualified for the WWPA Championship.
Chapman is coached by Eric Ploessel, in his second season at the helm of the program. Junior Alex Mule ranks among the nation's leading scorers with 73 goals on the season, while goalkeeper Colin Gasper averages over 11 saves per contest.
Scouting the Banana Slugs...
The UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs, seeded 10th in this year's tournament, currently hold a 1-19 overall record and 0-13 mark in the WWPA. The Slugs are in their final year of varsity competition.
UCSC is coached by Alan Cima, in his ninth season at the helm of the program.
Two Air Force players earned all-conference recognition this season, as junior Jack Hines was named to the All-WWPA second team, while classmate Alex Churnside earned honorable mention all-conference accolades.
In the Record Books...
Junior Alex Churnside has made his way onto the Academy's list of top-25 career scorers. Churnside currently ranks 17th in Air Force history in total points scored with 184 (103g, 81a). He needs just one more point to move up into a tie for 16th place on the career list.
Meanwhile, Churnside is just 11 assists away from moving into the top-five in the record book for career assists.
The winner of this weekend's WWPA Championship will earn an automatic bid to the four-team NCAA Championship, which is slated for Dec. 6-7 in Stanford, Calif.
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