Kansas City, Mo. – Jaric Marton’s goal in the 98th minute lifted the 14th-ranked Falcons to a 2-1 overtime victory in the regular season finale against UMKC, Saturday afternoon. Air Force (14-1-3) concludes the 2017 conference slate undefeated at 8-0-2. The conclusion of the season marks head coach Doug Hill’s most successful regular- season finish to date since taking the helm of the Falcons’ soccer program in 2007.
The first strike of the match came from the Kangaroos’ Pandeli Popgeorgiev in the 38th minute as a ball bounced around the Falcons’ goal line from a shot within the box. It was only the 10th goal allowed by Air Force this season.
For only the third time this year, the Falcons entered the locker room at the half trailing by one. Both teams took four shots in the first half.
The men’s soccer squad showed their resiliency yet again as they battled back into the match. In the 56th minute, a UMKC handball within the box yielded the Falcons their second penalty kick opportunity of the season. Junior forward Austin Dewing took the shot and converted for the tying goal. Dewing is 2-2 in penalty kicks; he leads the team with seven goals this season.
As the Falcons and Roos battled back and forth, either team was unable to punch in the game-winning goal before the regulation clock expired. UMKC is the fifth team this year to take Air Force to extra minutes.
In the waning minutes of the first overtime period, Austin Guerrero connected with Danny Han who found an open Marton in stride. Marton received the well-placed ball and took the game-winning shot in a one-on-one scenario with the Roos’ keeper. Marton’s game-winner marked his second goal of the season.
Air Force held the final advantage in shots and corner kicks, 12-6 and 6-1, respectively. Senior keeper John Wendt recorded his ninth victory in the Falcons’ cage. He faced only one shot on the night. Dewing, Marton, Tucker Bone and Klint Parker led the Falcons in shots with two apiece.
“I was really proud of how we finished the season strong,” exclaimed Hill. “Battling back from the deficit goes to show the character of our team; we settled in and took the game out of their hands. It was a great response and a great finish.”
“It’s a quality win heading in to tournament play,” continued hill. “We’ve got some mojo going and I think this team has what it takes to carry the momentum into the tournament.”
With their first-ever WAC regular-season title clinched last weekend, Air Force has secured the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, Nov. 8-12, hosted by UNLV. They will play their first post-season conference playoff match against the winner of the fourth and fifth-seeded teams, Friday, Nov. 10, at 4:00 p.m.