No. 19 Air Force Men Face WWPA Foe No. 8 UC Davis, Oct. 22

Courtesy: Air Force Athletics

This Week:  No. 19 Air Force travels to California for five games in three days. In a battle of the top two teams in the Western Water Polo Association, the second-place Falcons will face the first-place, and eighth-ranked, UC Davis Aggies, Friday, Oct. 22, at 1 pm MT. Air Force will then play four games in two days at the Julian Fraser Memorial Tournament, Oct. 23-24, in Santa Clara, Calif. Air Force will face 12th-ranked Princeton, along with Brown, Bucknell and Iona.

Racking up W’s: Air Force’s 16 wins this season are tied as the most of any team in the nation. No. 2 Cal and No. 5 Long Beach State each have 16. No. 1 UCLA has 15. Air Force’s 16 wins are already the most under head coach Ryan Brown and are the most since the 2012 team won 19. The Falcons have won 20 games in a season five times, including a school record 24 in 1991.

Series Record vs. UC Davis: Air Force and UC Davis meet for the 83rd time in the history of the two programs. The Aggies lead the series, 44-38, in the series that began in 1974. UC Davis has won 15 straight games in the series, dating back to 2012. The majority of games have been close as seven of those losses came by one goal. The teams did not play last season. The teams last played in 2019 at the Academy, a 10-9 UC Davis win.

The Seniors: Prior to the Austin College game on Saturday, Oct. 16, the Falcons honored its seven seniors. As juniors, the class helped lead the Falcons to the 2020 WWPA regular-season championship. This season, the class has led the Falcons to the best start since 1977. The class of 2021 consists of: James Daugherty, Sam FullerGavin JonesZach Shelley, co-captain Corey Tanis, co-captain Anthony Tolbert and Henry Yavitt.  The class has combined to play in 485 games and has helped lead the Falcons to 40 wins. Air Force was a perfect 3-0 on senior weekend.

Last Week:  Air Force won three games in two days at Cadet Natatorium. On senior day, Air Force defeated Austin College, 15-12, and WWPA foe Concordia, 16-9, Oct. 16. Air Force closed out the weekend with a 13-12 overtime win over Santa Clara.

Home Sweet Home: Air Force posted a perfect 9-0 record at home this season. While there have been several undefeated home seasons, the 9-0 record marks the most wins ever in an undefeated home season. The nine home wins are the second most in school history.  The 1976 team won a school-record 10 home games (10-1).

Best Start in 30 years:  Air Force opened the 2021 season with six straight wins, before falling to No. 6 Long Beach State. The six-game winning streak is the longest since the 2008 team won seven in a row at midseason. With wins over MIT and Brown, the Falcons improved to 11-1 overall this season, the best start since 1977. The current 16-3 record is the best 19-game record since the 1991 team was 16-3 en route to a 24-8 record and a close loss to UC San Diego in the WWPA title game.

Sammy on a Tear: Senior Sam Fuller has been on a tear this season. Fuller is sixth in the WWPA in goals (46), sixth in points (64) and fifth in field blocks (7). He was named the WWPA Player of the Week, Sept. 14, with 11 goals and 15 points in four games in the Inland Empire Classic in Redlands. In two games against Fresno Pacific, Sept. 18, he had eight goals and one assist. He matched his career high with five goals and six points in the first game against FPU. Fuller matched his career highs of five goals and six points in the win over UCSD.

All-American Grant SnyderSenior Grant Snyder, a second-team All-American last season, picked up right where he left off last season. Snyder had a career-best nine goals in a season-opening win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. He had 16 goals in the first three games of the season and added seven more at the Inland Empire Tournament. He has scored a goal in all 16 games this season. He has been named the USAFA Athlete of the Week twice, most recently when he scored 18 goals in four games on an eastern road swing. He had five goals in the win over Navy and tied his career best with nine points (5-4-9) in the win over Brown. Snyder was named the WWPA Player of the Week after posting 13 goals and 18 points in wins over Austin College, Concordia and Santa Clara. He leads the team with 69 goals and 91 points. In addition to his scoring, he leads the team with 40 sprint victories, and steals (30) and drawn exclusions (30).

Inside the Numbers: Grant Snyder leads the WWPA in points (91) and is second in goals (69), sprint victories (40) and steals (30). Fuller is sixth in the WWPA in goals (46), third in points (64) and fifth in field blocks (7).  Sophomore Ian Christie is second in the WWPA in assists (35) and is sixth with 24 steals. Freshman Ryan McLaughlin is fifth in the conference in assists (25). Henry Yavitt is eighth in field blocks (6). Anthony Tolbert is fourth in the league in saves percentage (.488) while A.J. Kuypers is fifth (.457).

2020 WWPA Champions: Air Force won its first ever WWPA regular season championship in 2020 with a perfect 2-0 record in conference play. The Falcons defeated Loyola Marymount, 15-13 in overtime, and Cal Baptist, 15-14, in overtime, in designated conference games. Air Force was the No. 1 seed in the WWPA Tournament for the first time ever, but fell to Cal Baptist, 11-9, in the title game. Air Force finished the season ranked eighth in the nation.  The Falcons finished the season with a 4-7 overall record.

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