Kingsmen Fall to Division I Air Force

Matt Fong converts a goal versus Air Force. (Credit: Dave Donovan)
Matt Fong converts a goal versus Air Force. (Credit: Dave Donovan)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.— The Cal Lutheran men's water polo team had a tough test as they took on the Falcons from the Air Force Academy. The Kingsmen handled themselves well, but the Falcons came away with the 12-7 win Sunday afternoon at the Samuelson Aquatics Center. 

The Kingsmen (4-5) faced their third Division I team of the season. CLU is 1-2 against Division I opponents as they defeated Iona on Sept. 16. Air Force improved to 3-8 on the year.

Ben Brown led the Cal Lutheran offense with two goals. Five more Kingsmen scored as Hans Cole, Kyle Crist, Justin English, Matt Fong and Taylor Garcia all found the back of the net. English, Garcia, Parker Jory and Stephen Blaauw kept the ball moving as they tallied one assist each. 

The defense was working hard and had their hands full. Cole, Seth Hightower and Fong all recorded three steals.

The Kingsmen recorded 11 drawn ejections, with two coming from Blaauw and Garcia apiece, but could only convert on two. 

Andre Rivas started the game in goal and Jonathan Salandi also saw time protecting the cage. Rivas made eight saves and Salandi added six more. 

Air Force showed the D-I power early and often and took a 4-0 lead after the first quarter. The Falcons scored seven unanswered goals before the Kingsmen got on the board. 

Crist stopped the drought as he scored with 3:07 left in the half. Cole scored his goal with one second remaining in the half, as he fired a shot to the right side of the goal, with the assist from Blaauw. The Falcons had the advantage at the half and led 8-2.  

Brown scored the first goal of the second half for either team. He made the score 8-3 with 4:04 left in the third. It was the only goal of the quarter as CLU went into the fourth down 8-3. 

After an Air Force score to start the fourth, Fong answered right back on the ensuing possession. The teams went back and forth, exchanging goals over the last five minutes. Garcia, Brown and English all added goals. CLU outscored Air Force in the second half, but fell 12-7 to the Falcons.

The Kingsmen get back into Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play this next week. Cal Lutheran host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Wednesday at 4 p.m.  

Box Score: USAF 12, CLU 7
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director

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