The Air Force Falcons travel West to play in the Inland Empire Classic at Redlands and Claremont, Calif., to open up their 2012 season on Saturday Sept. 7. There is no easing into the season as their first three games are conference games and their final game on Sunday is against No. 9 ranked Long Beach State.
Play begins at 10 a,m. MT against conference mate Redlands who are 0-3 on the year after falling to Long Beach State, UC Irvine and Champan last weekend. Redlands are a Division III school, but still compete in the WWPA, and in the Division III ranks they are No. 3 in the country.
Their best player is goalie Tyler Abbott who had a strong weekend even though they went 0-3. In the WWPA preseason coaches poll they were projected to finish eighth.
The next game on Saturday for Air Force will also be a conference game, and will be against Chapman at 2:30 p.m. They are also a Division III program who are ranked fourth nationally, and are projected to finish 10th in the WWPA. They went 1-2 last week with their lone win being against Redland. The loses came against top ranked USC and No. 2 ranked UCLA.
The first game on Sunday is at 10 a.m. against Claremont and is the final conference game of the weekend. They should be the toughest league game against Air Force as Claremont is predicted to finish seventh in league play, and are ranked third in the Division III poll. So far they are 0-2 on the year with loses to Pepperdine and UC Santa Barbara.
The final game is against No. 9 ranked Long Beach State at 2:45 p.m., and this will be the toughest match of the weekend. So far, Long Beach State is 2-0, but they were not challenged as they easily defeated UC-Irvine, Redlands and Chapman. Air Force will need to key in on Cal transfer Spencer White who scored five goals in his first game with Long Beach State, and had six overall.
For more on Air Force sports head over to Mountain West Connection, and for more water polo news visit The Skip Shot.