Falcons Down Lafayette, 11-5
Denver, Colo. -
With a fourth-quarter offensive flurry, the Air Force lacrosse team defeated Lafayette, 11-5, Sunday on the final day of the Pioneer Face-Off Classic, hosted by Denver. The Falcons fall to 2-1 on the season, while the Leopards drop to 0-3.
Air Force fell behind early against the Leopards, who scored three minutes into the opening period. However, the Falcons evened the score just over 30 seconds later, as sophomore Justin Kuchta (Ridgefield, Conn.) found the back of the net off an assist by Kevin Crumrine (Fr., Edgewater, Md.). After a goal by Will Meister (So., Denver, Colo.) gave Air Force a 2-1 advantage, the Leopards scored again to tie the contest. However, Meister scored twice more in the period, including a goal with just three seconds left on the clock, to put the Falcons up 4-2 at the end of the first.
Kuchta's score at the 13:15 mark in the second period put Air Force ahead 5-2, but the Falcons went cold offensively after that. Lafayette's Bart Seifert scored his second goal of the day almost a minute and a half later to bring the Leopards within two. Neither team was able to score for the rest of the half, despite combining for 16 shots, including 11 for the Falcons.
Air Force's offensive struggles continued in the third quarter, as the team was unable to score a single goal. With 12:47 remaining in the third, Lafayette scored to cut its deficit to 5-4, but the Air Force defense was able to prevent the Leopards from tying the score once more.
The Falcons broke their scoring drought early in the fourth quarter, as senior co-captain D.J. Benzing (Severna Park, Md.) notched his first goal of the day. That score opened up the flood gates for the Falcons, who scored five goals in the next five and a half minutes to run away with the lead. Meanwhile, Lafayette scored just two goals in the final 15 minutes of the contest to give Air Force the 11-5 victory.
For the first time this season, Air Force held the advantage on face-offs, winning 10-of-18 in the game. It also outshot the Leopards 40-28, and had a 39-34 ground ball advantage. The Falcons did an exceptionally good job on clears, getting successful clears on 24-of-25 attempts.
Meister, with four goals and an assist, and Kuchta, with three goals and two assists, were the high scorers for Air Force with five points each, as both were named to the all-tournament team. Adding single goals for the Falcons were Conrad Lochocki (So., Chalfont, Pa.), Benzing, John Smith (Jr., Hicksville, N.Y.) and Paul Adams (Jr., Arvada, Colo.), while Crumrine notched two assists in the contest. Goalkeeper Justin Pavoni (Jr., Park City, Utah) tallied nine saves and five ground balls in the win, while Meister and Smith added five ground balls as well.
For the Leopards, Jon Paulson led in scoring with three goals, while Seifert added two goals. Meanwhile, starting goalkeeper Chris Rosa notched 14 saves on the afternoon.
The Falcons return to action this Thursday, March 10, when they open their 2005 home slate against Penn. The game is slated to begin at 3:00 p.m. at Cadet Lacrosse Stadium.
Air Force 11, Lafayette 5Lafayette Scoring: Goals: Jon Paulson 3, Bart Seifert 2, Ryan Spitz. Assists: Matt Lukof, Greg Pierce.Air Force Scoring: Goals: Will Meister 4, Justin Kuchta 3, Conrad Lochocki, D.J. Benzing, John Smith, Paul Adams. Assists: Kevin Crumrine 2, Justin Kuchta 2, D.J. Benzing, Conrad Lochocki, Will Meister.