Air Force Ends Season With Loss in GWLL Semi-Final
May 1, 2009
BIRMINGHAM, Mich. - Playing in its first-ever conference tournament game, second-seeded Air Force dropped a 10-5 decision to third-seed Ohio State in the second semi-final game of the Great Western Lacrosse League Friday evening at Seaholm High School's Maple Field. With the loss, the Falcons conclude their season at 7-7. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes (8-7) move into the conference title game versus second-ranked Notre Dame.
Air Force was first to strike with a score from sophomore Vinny Sandtorv (Centereach, N.Y.), assisted by Ridge Flick (Jr., Plano, Texas), at the 12:13 mark in the opening period. Ohio State answered with their first goal of the evening less than a minute later, while Sandtorv and Flick connected once more with 8:23 on the clock. After five scoreless minutes, OSU notched its second tally of the game, followed by an unassisted goal by Sandtorv, his third score of the game. Still, the Buckeyes tied the game once more with just over a minute remaining in the first quarter.
Ohio State grabbed its first advantage of the game less than three minutes into the second period with a man-up goal from Mike Pires. It proved to be the only goal of the quarter, as the Buckeyes went into the break with a 4-3 advantage.
An early third-period score by Ohio State set up a back-and-forth battle, as the teams traded goals for the entire quarter. Flick assisted senior K.J. Landgraf (Cordova, Md.) on both Air Force goals in the period to bring the Falcons within a 6-5 margin, but another man-up score for Ohio State put the Buckeyes up by two with just 17 seconds left in the third.
The Buckeyes' lead continued to grow in the final stanza, as they held the Falcons scoreless in the period. Meanwhile, Ohio State scored three goals in the fourth quarter, to secure the 10-5 victory and a berth in the GWLL title game for the second-straight season.
The statistics for both teams were fairly even in most areas, with Air Force holding a slight edge on shots (37 to 36), while Ohio State won one more face-off (9-of-17). However, the Buckeyes registered 13 saves in the game to just six for the Falcons. In addition, OSU converted on 3-of-5 extra-man opportunities, improving on its performance from the regular season game between the two teams, when the Buckeyes were held scoreless on five man-up opportunities.
While Sandtorv and Landgraf, the Falcons' top two goal scorers on the season, accounted for all five of Air Force's goals on Friday, Flick notched four assists on the night, matching his career-best. It marks the second-consecutive game with four assists for Flick, who finishes the season as the Falcons' leader in points (38) and assists (22).
Air Force's appearance in the conference tournament capped off a successful season in which the team captured seven wins for the first time since 2006, two more victories than in the past two seasons combined, when the Falcons put together 2-10 and 3-9 records, respectively. The Falcons, who posted their best-ever GWLL regular-season record at 4-1, also finished the season at .500 for the first time since 1997.
Ohio State 10, Air Force 5