Falcons Down Denver, 2-1, in Home Finale
Nov. 4, 2011
Senior Ben Chavez scored both Air Force goals in his final home game as the Falcons defeated Denver, 2-1, Friday night at Cadet Soccer Stadium. The Falcons, extending their unbeaten streak to five games, improved to 11-5-2 and 5-3-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, while the Pioneers fell to 5-10-3 and 3-6-1 in league play.
Chavez put the Falcons ahead 1-0 in the 8th minute with his second goal of the season. He was in the right place for a rebound shot after Denver goalie Oliver Brown saved but could not corral a shot from Air Force senior John Melcher. Chavez placed the rebound top shelf from 12 yards as Melcher collected his sixth assist of the season. Chavez and Melcher, along with senior teammates Eric Wilson and Kyle Cressy, were honored in a pre-game ceremony.
The Pioneers evened the game late in the first half when Cole Chapleski headed a corner kick from Josh Wren past AFA keeper Matt Underwood with just 2:35 remaining in the half.
The game was a back-and forth affair in the second half until Chavez broke the tie in the 83rd minute with a very similar play to his first goal. Kevin Durr started the play with a through pass to Conor Henry at the top of the box. Henry spun and took a shot that Brown saved but didn't grab and Chavez flew in from the left side to find the open net.
Denver had a couple of prime chances in the second half as Kellan Christensen clanked a header off the post early in the half and Christian Volesky, DU's leading scorer, fired a rocket from the top of the box that Underwood dived to save with 35 seconds remaining. Underwood made three saves, while Oliver made five for DU.
"This was a great way to end conference play for us," said Air Force head coach Doug Hill. "It is also nice to beat a very good team on Senior Night. I'm happy for Ben (Chavez), he has played great soccer for us the last three games. This game will give us some confidence going into the league tournament next week."
Air Force finished in third place in the final MPSF standings and will face tournament host Denver in the first round of the MPSF Tournament next Thursday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m.