Falcons Suffer 14-5 Defeat At North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C. -
A scoreless opening half for the Falcons marked their downfall, as the Air Force lacrosse team fell to North Carolina, 14-5, Wednesday afternoon on a rain-soaked Fetzer Field. The Falcons fall to 3-6 on the year, while the Tar Heels move to 3-7 overall.
Early turnovers were costly for the Falcons, as North Carolina scored its first two goals directly off Air Force miscues. The Tar Heels went on to take a 4-0 advantage by the end of the first quarter, despite a strong defensive effort by Air Force goalkeeper Justin Pavoni (Park City, Utah), who notched six first-half saves.
Things only got worse for the Falcons in the second period, with North Carolina rolling out to a 9-0 advantage with just three minutes remaining in the half. A goal by the Tar Heels' Rob Driscoll with less than a second on the clock gave North Carolina a 10-0 lead going into intermission.
Air Force came out of the locker room fired up, as senior co-captain D.J. Benzing (Severna Park, Md.) won the opening face-off, going the length of the field to score an unassisted goal just 12 seconds into the third period. However, the Tar Heels answered back immediately with a score of their own seconds later, and were up 13-1 with 11:47 on the clock. A minute and a half later, the Falcons scored once more, as sophomore Conrad Lochocki (Chalfont, Pa.) got the assist from Will Meister (So., Denver, Colo.). Neither team was able to get on the board again until a lob by Air Force freshman Kevin Crumrine (Edgewater, Md.) found its way into the net with 42 seconds left in the quarter.
The Falcons opened the final period with their first extra-man opportunity of the game and capitalized, as Meister scored off an assist by Benzing. Air Force cut the deficit to 13-5 at 12:31 when Lochocki sailed a rebound of a missed shot directly into the net. The Tar Heels pushed their lead back to nine when Kyle Henderson scored with over 10 and a half minutes remaining on the clock and held on for the rest of the game. The Falcons outshot North Carolina 13-6 in the final quarter, but could not connect on any of itheir chances in the waning minutes of the game, as the Tar Heels rolled to the 14-5 win.
The sloppy field conditions helped contribute to a combined 109 ground balls in the game, with the Tar Heels holding a 70-39 advantage. In addition to having problems taking care of the ball in the sloppy field conditions, Air Force struggled on face-offs, winning just four of 21.
Pavoni, who faced 44 shots in the game, finished with 13 saves and 12 ground balls for the Falcons, while senior Tim Hade (Franklin Lake, N.J.) added seven ground balls of his own for the Falcon defense.
Mike McCall led North Carolina with three goals and two assists, while Ryan Blair added three goals and an assist. A total of 10 different Tar Heels scored in the game, including three who scored for the first time in their careers.
Air Force returns home next week for a pair of GWLL contests. First, the Falcons will face Butler at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 22, before taking on Ohio State in the home finale on Saturday, April 24 at noon.
North Carolina 14, Air Force 5 Air Force Scoring: Goals: Conrad Lochocki 2, D.J. Benzing, Kevin Crumrine, Will Meister. Assists: Will Meister, D.J. Benzing.North Carolina Scoring: Goals: Mike McCall 3, Ryan Blair 3, Jed Prossner, Sean Link, Tim Kaiser, Rob Driscoll, Lance Zimmerman, Andrew McElduff, Charley Conkling, Kyle Henderson. Assists: Bryant Will 3, Mike McCall 3, Jed Prossner 2, Ryan Blair, Sean Link.