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Photo courtesy Air Force Athletics
Photo courtesy Air Force Athletics
Men's Water Polo - Wed, Oct. 4, 2017

WWPA Weekly Release No. 5 (Oct. 4, 2017)

THOMAS FLIES HIGH EN ROUTE TO WWPA WEEKLY HONORS: Air Force Senior utility Riley Thomas finished accounted for better than half of his team's offense last week in a top-20 battle with UC Davis, scoring a season-high seven times to pace the Air Force Academy on the way to his second career Western Water Polo Association Player of the Week honor.

Five of Thomas' seven scores came in the second half as the Falcons tried to rally from a five-goal halftime deficit, including three consecutive goals from the end of the third to the start of the fourth to pull Air Force back within striking distance. He also scored back-to-back goals early in the second quarter, helping close the Falcons to within two at the time.

The seven goals -- the most by a WWPA player this season -- came on just eight shots and are the second-most in Thomas' career, trailing only the eight he scored against Cal Baptist in 2016. The systems engineering aeronautics major from Laguna Beach, Calif., also added a pair of assists and two drawn exclusions.

His nine points are the second-most for a WWPA player this year, trailing only the 10 by UC San Diego's Connor Turnbow-Lindenstadt against Concordia on Sept. 8.

Also nominated: Ido Goldschmidt (Junior, Utility, UC Davis); Armen Momdzhyan (Senior, Utility, UC San Diego); Joseph Galgani (Freshman, Utility, Cal Baptist).

IN THE RANKINGS: Three teams are ranked among the top 20 and four more are among those receiving votes in the most recent Collegiate Water Polo Association poll released on Wednesday (Oct. 4). UC Davis, which is tied for first in the conference standings alongside UC San Diego, held steady at No. 10, two spots ahead of the Tritons, who moved up one spot to No. 12 this week. Cal Baptist is the third team among the top 20, standing in a tie for No. 15 with Brown. Among those six teams receiving votes are Air Force (three votes), Concordia (one), Loyola Marymount (1), and Fresno Pacific (1).

AROUND THE ASSOCIATION...

AIR FORCE FALCONS (2-9, 0-1 WWPA)
The No. 19 Falcons got seven goals from senior UT Riley Smith, but came out on the short end in a WWPA shootout with No. 10 UC Davis, falling to the Aggies by a 21-13 score in their conference opener in Colorado Springs. Air Force heads to Southern California to take on a trio of opponents at the Gary Troyer Memorial Tournament in Claremont, Calif., this weekend.

CAL BAPTIST LANCERS (13-6, 1-1 WWPA)
The No. 15 Lancers capped off a 6-1 week with a WWPA win over Fresno Pacific and a 5-0 mark at their own Lancer Invitational around a battle with No. 2 USC. Freshman UT Joseph Galgani finished with a team-high 12 goals and 18 points for the Lancers in seven games, shooting .632 on the weekend. Cal Baptist joins league mate Air Force at the Gary Troyer Memorial Tournament this weekend.

CONCORDIA EAGLES (7-5, 1-1 WWPA)
The Eagles picked up their first-ever WWPA victory, edging out host Santa Clara by the score of 12-10. Junior Spencer Hosch led Concordia with four goals in the win, while senior Jake Snyder added three more and goalkeeper Alfredo De La Mora finished with 13 saves. The Eagles will take on a pair of opponents on the second day of the Gary Troyer Memorial Tournament this weekend.

FRESNO PACIFIC SUNBIRDS (3-8, 0-3 WWPA)
The Sunbirds opened last week with a loss to Cal Baptist to fall to 0-3 in conference play, before rebounding to finish 2-2 at the Lancer Joust, defeating Citrus College and Occidental while falling to No. 2 USC and the host Lancers. FPU heads south to take on a quartet of opponents at the Gary Troyer Memorial Tournament this weekend.

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT LIONS (3-10, 1-0 WWPA)
The No. 19 Lions dropped both their contests last week, falling in a non-conference affair against No. 13 UC San Diego on the road before being edged out by Whittier. Having lost its last six straight, LMU looks to bounce back against Iona and the Tritons at home this weekend -- the latter a WWPA contest. Sophomore Matt Braun finished with a hat trick against UCSD on five shots, while Austin Clark and Jacob Markle had two each against the Poets.

SANTA CLARA BRONCOS (4-6, 0-1 WWPA)
In their only game of the week, the Broncos had their home opener spoiled by Concordia, 12-10, despite a career-high tying three goals from DeMarco Orella and two apiece from John Raineri and Mac Carey. Santa Clara, playing without regulars Reilley May and Jack Rottman, got to within two of the Eagles midway through the fourth quarter before Concordia shut the door. The Broncos take on No. 3 California on Wednesday (Oct. 4) in their lone contest.

UC DAVIS AGGIES (10-5, 2-0 WWPA)
The Aggies made it a perfect 3-0 against Air Force this season, grounding the No. 19-ranked Falcons in a 21-13 shootout in Colorado Springs that gave UC Davis a share of the WWPA lead. The Aggies are idle this week, returning to the pool against a pair of conference foes in Santa Clara (Oct. 14) and Concordia (Oct. 15).

UC SAN DIEGO TRITONS (5-10, 2-0 WWPA)
The No. 12 Tritons picked up a 15-5 non-conference win over Loyola Marymount in their only match last week, and get a third chance to take down the Lions in a WWPA match this weekend in Los Angeles. Senior utility Arman Momdzhyan and junior utility Kevin Asplund each had hat tricks against the Lions, while goalkeeper Sam Thompson made 12 saves and added three steals.

 
 
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