Nov. 22, 2003
REDLANDS, Calif. - Scott Butler scored two goals in the final 45 seconds to rally Air Force for the come-from-behind, 9-8, victory over UC Davis in the third-place game at the Western Water Polo Association Men's Championships Saturday afternoon at the Thompson Aquatics Center.
With the loss the Aggies see their season come to an end with a 14-16 record and a fourth-place finish in the WWPA. It is the best finish for UC Davis since capturing the WWPA title during the 1997 season.
The Aggies, seeded No.5 in the tournament, came out strong to open the game, racing to a 3-0 lead in the second period before No.3-seed Air Force got on the board. UC Davis took a 6-4 lead into halftime and carried an 8-7 lead into the final period.
In the fourth quarter, the Aggies' defense was solid through the first six minutes. With the shot clock running down on an Air Force possession and under one minute remaining, an Aggie foul resulted in an ejection, giving the Falcons a 6-on-5 advantage. Butler capitalized, tying the game with :45 seconds left. With time running down in regulation, it was another Butler goal, this time with: :07 seconds left, giving Air Force the game-winner.
George Dingeldein led UC Davis by posting his 10th hat trick of the season with three goals. The three goals gave Dingeldein 102 for his Aggie career, moving him into 8th place all-time. Jamie Turpen and Patrick Jacobson each added two goals while Tom Jay and Josh McNeely tallied the other Aggie scores. Senior Zach Wordes registered six saves in net in his final game as an Aggie.
"The guys played great," said Aggie head coach Steve Doten. "Air Force is a very good team and needed a last-second goal to beat us."
At the conclusion of the tournament, Dingeldein was named to the All-WWPA first team while Turpen earned second-team honors.
UC DAVIS MEN'S WATER POLO
No.5 UC Davis 2 4 2 0 - 8
No.3 Air Force 0 4 3 2 - 9
UC Davis Goals: George Dingeldein 3, Jamie Turpen 2, Patrick Jacobson 2, Tom Jay 1, Josh McNeely 1.
UC Davis Saves: Zach Wordes 6.