Falcons Fall To No. 13 North Carolina In Pioneer Face-Off Classic
Denver, Colo. - Giving up six unanswered goals in the third period, the Air Force lacrosse team dropped a close 8-6 decision to 13th-ranked North Carolina in the first game of the Pioneer Face-Off Classic, hosted by Denver. With the loss, the Falcons fall to 0-2 on the season, while the Tar Heels improve to 2-0.
North Carolina got out to a 1-0 lead in the first five minutes of the contest, but Air Force was able to tie the game as sophomore Peter Krasco (Medford, Mass.) scored off the assist by Justin Kuchta (Jr., Ridgefield, Conn.) with just under two minutes remaining in the opening period. The Tar Heels regained their advantage midway through the second period as Michael Burns connected on the assist from Ryan Blair, but a pair of scores by Air Force freshman Griffin Nevitt (Charlotte, N.C.) gave the Falcons a 3-2 lead at the half.
While the first half was low scoring for both teams, North Carolina exploded offensively in the third quarter, notching six straight scores to take an 8-3 advantage. Although Air Force responded by outscoring the Tar Heels 3-0 in the final period, including a pair of man-up goals, it was not enough to pull off the upset over the 13th-ranked team in the 8-6 loss.
Air Force was able to keep the game close with a solid defensive effort against North Carolina, which outshot the Falcons 43-19 for the game, including 25-7 in the first half alone. Leading the Air Force defense was senior goalkeeper Justin Pavoni (Park City, Utah), who recorded 14 saves and five ground balls between the pipes for the Falcons. Air Force also held a slight edge on face-offs, winning 10-of-18 in the game, led by senior midfielder John Smith (Merion, Pa.), who won 6-of-9 face-offs taken.
Senior tri-captain Max Miller (Dublin, Ohio) led the Falcons with three points (one goal, two assists), while Nevitt notched two goals for the second straight game. Also scoring for Air Force were Conrad Lochocki (Jr., Chalfont, Pa.) and Michael Weber (Jr., Wantagh, N.Y.) while Will Meister (Jr., Denver, Colo.) added another assist for the Falcons.
The Tar Heels were led by Burns with three goals, while Blair added a goal and two assists.
The Falcons are back in action tomorrow, Feb. 26, when they play Manhattan on the second day of the Pioneer Face-Off Classic at the Barton Lacrosse Stadium. The game is slated to begin at 11:00 a.m.
North Carolina 8, Air Force 6
North Carolina Scoring: Goals: Michael Burns 3, Ryan Blair, Brian Connors, Ryan Walterhoefer, Stephen McElduff, Kyle Henderson. Assists: Ryan Blair 2, Sean Link, Bobby McAuley, Andrew McElduff, Nick Tintle.
Air Force Scoring: Goals: Griffin Nevitt 2, Max Miller, Conrad Lochocki, Michael Weber, Peter Krasco. Assists: Max Miller 2, Justin Kuchta, Will Meister.