Falcons Head To West Point To Take On Fifth-Ranked Army
The Air Force lacrosse team (3-3) heads to West Point, N.Y., this weekend as it takes on service academy-rival Army on Saturday, April 2. The game is slated to begin at 1:00 p.m. (ET) at Michie Stadium.
Last Time Out...
The Falcons split their two games last week, falling to Fairfield, 10-9, in their GWLL-opener before rebounding with a 13-11 victory over St. John's.
In its first game of the week, Air Force, which trailed 6-2 at one point against the Stags, rallied to tie the game at 9-9. However, Fairfield scored on an extra-man opportunity with just 1:05 on the clock to tally the game-winning goal.
Leading scorers for the Falcons against Fairfield were Conrad Lochocki and Kevin Crumrine, with three goals each, while Will Meister added three assists.
Meanwhile, the Falcons remained in control for most of the game against St. John's. Although the Red Storm was able to move within a single goal on numerous occasions, Air Force held on for the two-point victory.
Meister, with three goals and three assists, and Justin Kuchta (two goals, four assists) led Air Force with six points each against the Red Storm. Meanwhile, Lochocki recorded a hat trick for the second straight game.
Scouting the Black Knights...
Army, ranked fifth in the latest USILA coaches poll, improved to 6-1 with an 11-10 victory over 11th-ranked Hofstra Tuesday night at Michie Stadium.
The Black Knights led by as many as four goals in the final period, but gave up three unanswered scores by the Pride to end the game. Leading Army in the contest was John Walker with a career-high five goals and seven points, while Adam Fullerton registered a career-best 11 saves.
On the season, Walker leads the team with 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists), while Jim Wagner is right behind with 26 points (22 goals, four assists).
How We Rate...
In the latest edition of national statistics released by the NCAA (through games on March 27), Air Force goalkeeper Justin Pavoni is ranked second in the nation in ground balls with 7.83 per game, trailing only Alex Smith of Delaware.
Meanwhile, sophomore attackman Will Meister is also in the national rankings, rated 10th in the country in assists per game with 2.17 and 13th in points per game with 3.67.
How They Rate...
In the latest NCAA statistical reports, Army was ranked among the nation's leaders in several categories, both as a team and individually. Including only games played through March 27, the Black Knights lead the country in man-down defense at .917 and are third in man-up offense (.476). Army is also sixth in scoring defense (6.17), 10th in scoring margin (3.5) and 16th in face-off win percentage (.551).
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Adam Fullerton leads the nation in goals against average (4.64) and is second in save percentage at .667. Jim Wagner was rated third in goals per game (3.17) and 20th in points per game (3.5), while John Walker was rated 13th in assists per game with 2.0. Rounding out the group of Army players in the national rankings is Erik Mineo, who is 17th with a .590 face-off win percentage.
In the Series...
The Falcons are 0-11 all-time against Army, with the last meeting an 11-10 overtime loss for Air Force.
Last Year vs. Army...
Last season, the Falcons were just minutes away from defeating rival Army for the first time ever, but ended up falling 11-10 in overtime to the Black Knights. Army scored two goals in the final two minutes of regulation to force overtime and notched the gamewinner just 1:48 into the extra period.
Leading the way for the Falcons in the game was freshman Justin Kuchta with four goals, while Justin Pavoni recorded 17 saves.
The Falcons did an outstanding job of making the right passes against St. John's, resulting in assists on 11 of 13 goals in the game. Leading the way was sophomore Justin Kuchta, who tallied four assists, while Will Meister added three assists. D.J. Benzing and Max Miller each contributed two assists as well.
Senior co-captain Tim Hade earned an interesting distinction in the game at St. John's, becoming the first, and only, player in the GWLL this season to record a man-down goal. Hade, who had never scored a goal before this season, now has three this year, including two last week alone.
We've Gotta Score...
This season, Air Force's success has been measured by its ability to find the back of the net. The Falcons are 3-0 in games when they have scored in double figures, but are 0-3 when scoring under 10. In their three wins, the Falcons have averaged 12 goals per game. In contrast, Air Force averaged just six goals per game in its three losses.
AF In The GWLL Rankings...
In the latest rankings released by the GWLL on March 29, several Falcons are rated among the league's leaders in various statistical categories.
Junior goalkeeper Justin Pavoni remains the league leader in ground balls per game with 7.83, while also tying for first in the GWLL in saves with 10.67 pg. Meanwhile, Air Force's sophomore trio of Will Meister, Justin Kuchta and Conrad Lochocki all find themselves rated among the league's offensive leaders. Meister ranks second in the GWLL in both assists (2.17) and points (3.67) per game. Kuchta is tied for fifth in the league in goals (2.0 pg) and is rated fourth in points (3.17 pg), while Lochocki is fourth in goals per game with 2.17.
AF In League Openers...
With its loss to Fairfield last week, Air Force now holds a 2-10 record in league openers since the inception of the Great Western Lacrosse League in 1994. The Falcons' last victory in a GWLL opener was a 14-13 win over Ohio State in 1997.
After a week off, the Falcons head to South Bend, Ind., on April 10 for a noon match-up against GWLL-foe Notre Dame.