Air Force Advances to MPSF Semis with 4-2 Win Over UNLV
Nov. 8, 2012
With the victory, Air Force improved to 9-8-3 while UNLV's season came to an end at 6-14-1.
The Falcons, looking to avenge a 3-2 loss to UNLV in Las Vegas two weeks ago, delivered an early knockout blow with a three-goal flurry in just under 11 minutes. Junior midfielder Caleb Downey got the Falcons on the board as he was in the right place at the right time when teammate Scott McGillivray's shot hit the post and bounced right to Downey, who buried a point-blank shot past UNLV keeper Joe Vitale for a 1-0 lead at the 20:37 mark.
A little over eight minutes later at 28:53, Air Force struck again. McGillivray took a slot pass from senior Zane Dydasco and drilled a shot just inside the post past Vitale for a 2-0 lead. Dydasco then got on the board himself when he roofed a shot from about eight yards out for a 3-0 lead at the 31:15 mark.
UNLV got on the board in the 35th minute when Eddie Vega hit Salvador Bernal on a through pass, and Bernal one touched it home past Falcon goalie Matt Underwood to make it 3-1. It looked like it would go to the half with that score, but with 4:23 left, Kevin Durr's corner kick was headed home by Conor Henry for a 4-1 Air Force advantage.
"We played a solid 90 minutes tonight," said Air Force head coach Doug Hill, who was named the league's Coach of the Year yesterday. "I was impressed with how sharp we were on our set pieces and our back line played great the entire game. Kevin (Durr) controlled the middle of the field as he has done all season."
The Rebels cut the lead to 4-2 with an own goal in the 67th minute. Jose Mendoza's free kick from 40 yards out was headed into the Air Force net by a defender.
"It was nice to have our reserves play some good minutes tonight," said Hill. "They came in and really kept the tempo we had in the beginning of the game and gave our starters some much needed rest with the short turnaround for tomorrow."
The Falcons outshot UNLV 18-15 in total shots, but the Rebels held a 10-6 advantage in shots on goal. McGillivray and Bernal led all players with four shots apiece. Underwood was superb in net for Air Force, making eight saves, including six in the second half, while Vitale made two saves for UNLV.
Air Force will look for some revenge Friday night against CSU Bakersfield, which defeated the Falcons 1-0 in the MPSF semis last season.