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NCAA water polo tournament: Air Force falls to USC, 18-7

Air Force was able to hang around with USC for just over a quarter, but the Trojans were just too much.

Stephen Dunn

The Air Force Falcons knew it would be a long shot for them to upend the undefeated USC Trojans, but for at least a quarter and a half they gave the Trojans a run for their money before falling 18-7.

Air Force came out strong and took advantage of a sloppy USC team and actually held a 2-1 lead after Josh Steadman and Cruz Smithson scored a pair of back-to-back goals. The Trojans then shook off the bad play and led 5-2 in the second quarter, Air Force did cut it to 5-3. USC then put their offense together and scored six straight goals to comfortable go ahead of the Falcons heading into the second half.

USC felt so comfortable that they brought in their backup goalie Ely Bonilla for some NCAA tournament experience The drop off was not there as he played just as good as starter James Clark by blocking six shots, which was two more than Clark.

Air Force goalie Mike Fish did his best to keep the Falcons in the game with 12 saves, so the game could have been even more of a blowout if they had someone in the cage.

USC was led by Kostas Genidounias who had five goals, while Marc Vonderweidt and Nikola Vavic had a hat trick.

Air Force now takes on t. Franics in the third place game at 2 p.m. MT.