Sept. 6, 2009
Seniors Aaron Eshkenazi and Josh Rhynard scored and fellow senior Jim Gullo made five saves, including one on a penalty kick, to lift Air Force past Furman, 2-1, Sunday on the final day of the 2009 NIKE/Aaron Olitsky Memorial Soccer Classic in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. With the victory, the Falcons evened their record at 1-1, while Furman fell to 1-2.
Rhynard, who did not score a goal last year after notching six his first two seasons, opened the scoring with AFA's first goal of the '09 campaign just 9 minutes, 23 seconds into the game. He placed a shot past Furman goalie Maros Valko after Valko saved a shot by Air Force junior Kyle Moses, who got the assist, his first point since his freshman campaign.
In the 37th minute, Eshkenazi put the Falcons up 2-0 with his first career goal. Senior Kevin Rosser sent a corner kick into the box and Eshkenazi sailed above everyone and put a header past Valko. Rosser notched his eighth career assist on the play.
"We played with a lot of energy today," said Air Force head coach Doug Hill. "Our seniors came up big, especially Aaron, who dominated on the defensive end in the second half. Jimmy (Gullo) also had a great game and an outstanding weekend. We gave ourselves some confidence going into our home opener next weekend."
Gullo kept the Paladins at bay for the majority of the game, including a big save on a penalty kick by Furman's Eric Cobleigh in the 59th minute after Falcon freshman Alek Uransel was called for a hand-ball in the box. Furman closed the gap to 2-1 just four minutes later on a goal by Cobleigh, but Gullo made four saves in the final 28 minutes to seal the victory. Gullo earned all-tournament honors, as did senior Kevin Rosser.
Air Force returns home for its home opener next Friday, Sept. 11 against Belmont at Cadet Soccer Stadium. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.