Falcons Remain Perfect At Home With 9-7 Win Over Bellarmine
USAFA, Colo. - Bolstered by a 5-0 third-quarter run, the Air Force lacrosse team defeated visiting Bellarmine, 9-7, Sunday afternoon at Cadet Lacrosse Stadium. The Falcons, winners of six of their last seven contests, move to 6-5 on the season, including a 5-0 mark at home, while the Knights fall to 3-7 overall.
Bellarmine was able to grab a 1-0 lead with just six seconds remaining in the first period as Ray Finnegan scored after the expiration of an Air Force penalty. The Knights extended their advantage to two goals in the second quarter as Shane Andersen scored off the assist from Garett Kikot, but the Falcons' Justin Kuchta (Jr., Ridgefield, Conn.) responded with a score less than a minute later to put Air Force on the board for the first time in the contest.
A goal by Kikot with just over three minutes to play in the half put Bellarmine back up by two, but just 10 seconds later, Air Force tri-captain Will Meister (Jr., Denver, Colo.) was able to find Conrad Lochocki (Jr., Chalfont, Pa.) for another Falcon score, sending the game into halftime with a 3-2 Knights' advantage.
Bellarmine once again was first to score in the third period, this time on a feed from Bryan Brown to Justin Norbraten. Yet the Falcons again had the answer less than a minute later, as Lochocki scored his second goal of the game on the assist from Kuchta. It sparked a run of five unanswered goals by Air Force, as Meister followed with his first goal of the contest, freshman Griffin Nevitt (Charlotte, N.C.) added a pair of scores less than 45 seconds apart and sophomore Kevin Crumrine (Edgewater, Md.) capped off the run with an assist from Chris Tubesing (So., Centreville, Va.) to give the Falcons the 7-4 lead.
Although the Knights put an end to the Air Force run with a pair of goals in a span of 41 seconds, Nevitt found the net once more for the Falcons, scooping up the ground ball off the face-off and running it in for his third goal of the contest. Neither team was able to score again until Meister netted his second goal with 10:56 remaining in the game, giving Air Force the 9-6 advantage. The game remained stuck on that score until Bellarmine's Matt Campbell found Sean Thompson for a goal with just four seconds remaining to cut the final margin to 9-7.
Air Force outshot Bellarmine 34-23 in the game, grabbed 30 ground balls to 24 for the Knights, and won 10-of-19 face-offs. In addition, the Falcons were successful in penalty killing, holding the Knights scoreless on four extra-man opportunities.
Nevitt led the Air Force offense with his three goals, while also adding a team-high six ground balls. Meister (two goals, one assist) and Kuchta (one goal, two assists) also scored three points each, while Lochocki had two goals for the Falcons. Senior John Smith (Merion, Pa.) was the top face-off specialist for Air Force against Bellarmine, winning 6-of-10 face-offs taken, while senior goalkeeper Justin Pavoni (Park City, Utah) was solid between the pipes for the Falcons once more, finishing with 13 saves in the contest.
For the Knights, Kikot the team with his goal and assist, while nine other players (six goals, three assists) all notched one point each.
The Falcons continue their four-game homestand on Friday, April 14, when they host Bucknell in a 3:00 p.m. contest.
Air Force 9, Bellarmine 7
Bellarmine Scoring: Goals: Garett Kikot, Shane Andersen, Justin Norbraten, Ray Finnegan, Jamie Floris, Sean Thomson, Cameron Adams. Assists:Bryan Brown, Mark Burton, Matt Campbell, Garett Kikot.
Air Force Scoring: Goals: Griffin Nevitt 3, Conrad Lochocki 2, Will Meister, Justin Kuchta, Kevin Crumrine, Chris Tubesing. Assists: Conrad Lochocki 2, Peter Krasco, Justin Kuchta, Will Meister.