Air Force Unable To Get Past No. 5 Army
West Point, N.Y. -
Despite rallying back from a 7-1 first-half deficit, the Air Force lacrosse team was unable to pull off the upset against fifth-ranked Army, falling 12-8 to the Black Knights Saturday afternoon at rain-soaked Michie Stadium. The loss drops the Falcons to 3-4 on the season, while Army improves to 7-1.
The Falcons struggled mightily against the Black Knights early in the game, as Army rolled out to a 7-1 lead by the 10:26 mark of the second quarter. However, an unassisted goal by sophomore Justin Kuchta (Ridgefield, Conn.) with 7:46 remaining in the first half sparked a 5-0 Air Force run, which included a score by junior John Smith (Merion, Pa.) that cut the margin to 7-3 at the half. Sophomore Will Meister (Denver, Colo.) then opened up the third period with his only goal of the day, while Conrad Lochocki (So., Chalfont, Pa.) tallied two scores in a span of less than 30 seconds. Suddenly, the Falcons were down just one goal with 9:22 on the clock in the third period.
However, that was as close as the Falcons would get, as Army ended the quarter with two goals to go into the final period with a 9-6 advantage. A man-down goal by Chris Larsen nearly four minutes into the fourth quarter pushed the Black Knights' lead back to four. Air Force freshman Kevin Crumrine (Edgewater, Md.) responded with a pair of goals just 29 seconds apart to give the Falcons a chance, but John Walker, who tallied five total goals for Army in the game, scored two more in the last five minutes to seal the win for the Black Knights.
Once again, the Falcons were hurt by their inability to control face-offs, winning just 7-of-21 in the game and just 2-of-10 in the second half. Meanwhile, Army also had a distinct ground ball advantage, grabbing 45 loose balls to Air Force's 27. However, the Falcons did manage to outshoot the Black Knights 23-14 in the second half, after giving up a 23-10 advantage to open the game.
Lochocki led the Falcons with three goals on the day, while Crumrine added two goals and an assist. Meister and Kuchta each notched a goal and an assist apiece, while senior co-captain D.J. Benzing (Sr., Severna Park, Md.) contributed a team-high two assists. Goalkeeper Justin Pavoni (Jr., Park City, Utah) gave a valiant effort, tallying 14 saves and four ground balls in the defeat.
For the Army, Walker led the team with seven points, adding two assists to his five goals, while Jim Wager and Larsen notched two goals each. Matt Scheel added four assists for the Black Knights and Adam Fullerton recorded a career-best 13 saves between the pipes.
Air Force returns to action for its fourth-straight road contest next week as it heads to South Bend, Ind., to face GWLL-foe Notre Dame. Game time is slated for 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 10 at Moose Krause Stadium.
Army 12, Air Force 8
Air Force Scoring: Goals: Conrad Lochocki 3, Kevin Crumrine 2, Justin Kuchta, Will Meister, John Smith. Assists: D.J. Benzing 2, Kevin Crumrine, Justin Kuchta, Will Meister.
Army Scoring: Goals: John Walker 5, JIm Wagner 2, Chris Larsen 2, Mike Obringer, Brian Green, Matt Luyster. Assists: Matt Scheel 4, John Walker 2.