Falcons Set To Host St. John's In Non-Conference Action
The Air Force lacrosse team (3-4) returns to action this weekend, hosting St. John's in a 12:00 p.m. contest on Saturday, March 25.
Last Time Out...
Air Force extended its winning streak to three games last week, first posting a 12-8 victory over Siena at home, before knocking off 16th-ranked Dartmouth at a neutral site contest in Ridgefield, Conn.
Against the Saints, the Falcons got out to a 2-0 lead before giving up five unanswered goals in the first half. However, they were able to rally from their three-goal deficit, tying the game just prior to intermission, before taking the lead for good in the third period. Leading scorers for Air Force against Siena were sophomore Kevin Crumrine with four goals, freshman Griffin Nevitt with three goals and two assists, Justin Kuchta with two goals and two assists and Will Meister with one goal and three assists. In addition, junior goalkeeper Daniel Bellissimo notched five saves and one goal against in relief for the Falcons.
In Air Force's game against No. 16 Dartmouth, the Falcons never trailed, getting their first goal early in the game from Nevitt. Huge offensive outbursts in the second and third quarters helped Air Force to its third-straight victory. Leading the way on offense was Nevitt with four goals and an assist, Meister added three goals and two assists, Conrad Lochocki had three goals and an assist, and Crumrine added a goal and three assists. Meanwhile, senior goalkeeper Justin Pavoni was outstanding between the pipes for Air Force, notching 16 saves and five ground balls to hold Dartmouth to a season-low eight goals.
Scouting the Red Storm...
St. John's enters this week's contest with a 2-3 record after suffering a close 6-5 loss to No. 17 Loyola last week. The Red Storm held a 3-2 lead at the half against the Greyhounds before Loyola came back in the second half to win the game.
Tom Michaelsen (nine goals, seven assists) leads the Red Storm's offense with 16 points on the season. Meanwhile, Dave Saccente has been between the pipes for St. John's all season, posting a .602 save percentage with a 7.40 goals against average.
St. John's is coached by Rick Sowell (Washington College '85), who has compiled a 4-14 mark in his second season at the helm of the Red Storm program and a 37-50 career ledger.
In the Series...
Air Force is 1-0 in the all-time series versus St. John's, picking up a 13-11 win over the Red Storm last season.
Pavoni Earns GWLL Honors...
Senior Justin Pavoni was named the GWLL Player of the Week for the week of March 13-19, as announced on March 21.
The goalkeeper from Park City, Utah, played an integral role in the Falcons' upset of 16th-ranked Dartmouth, getting 16 saves and five ground balls in the game to hold the Big Green to a season-low eight goals. Pavoni also played in the first half of Air Force's 12-8 home victory over Siena on March 14.
Pavoni Moves Up In the Record Books...
With 72 saves through the first seven games of the season, senior Justin Pavoni sits in seventh place on the career saves list at the Academy with 378 total saves, and needs 109 more saves to move past Chris Cicere into sixth place.
Most impressive about Pavoni's feat is not only that he has accomplished it against a rigorous Division I schedule (many of Air Force's teams in the first 25+ years of the program played Division II and III teams), but he has also made his mark in just over two full years of play, as Pavoni did not see action as a freshman.
There's No Place like Home...
Air Force's neutral site game versus Dartmouth on Saturday was in a familiar location for junior Justin Kuchta, as the contest was played at his high school stadium. The Falcons were glad to utilize the "home" field advantage, upsetting the 16th-ranked Big Green.
Air Force is back in action next week, Saturday, April 1, when they head to West Point, N.Y., to take on service academy rival Army at 4:00 p.m. (ET). The game is slated to be televised on ESPN-U.