LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Falcon men’s soccer team concluded one of its most successful season to date after a hard fought battle against San Jose State in the WAC semi-finals match, Friday evening at Peter Johann Soccer Stadium, Las Vegas. Air Force, ranked 20th in the NCAA RPI rankings, will await at-large announcements with hopes for a bid into the 2017 NCAA tournament.
Air Force controlled a majority of the first-half possessions, putting two shots on frame in a pair of fast break opportunities. After a scoreless first half, the Falcons took the locker room with the advantage in shots on goal and corner kicks.
The second half continued on the same pace as stubborn defenses on both sides yielded few opportunities for plays on the goal.
Senior Falcon keeper John Wendt made two brilliant saves from set piece opportunities by San Jose State in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. In the 73rd minute, the Falcons were put on the defensive as a wind-assisted header floated over Wendt’s reach into the far side of the net for the only goal of the match.
The Falcons battle with the Spartans turned into a battle against the clock as the offense upped the pressure on San Jose’s defense. After several attacks in the Spartans’ third, the Falcons came up short of the equalizer. The loss marks the Falcons’ first since falling to Furman, Sept. 3.
“This is a first class team and I’m proud of what they accomplished this season,” said head coach Doug Hill. “Each one of our guys was committed to the success of this team all season long; every one of them gave it all they had all season long and there isn’t a single player who can say they didn’t put it all on the table.”
“I’m extremely proud of our team,” Hill continued. “We feel like we are an NCAA tournament-caliber team and hopefully the selection committee saw how hard this team has fought all season and sees that we belong in the same conversation with the other top teams in the country.”
The 12th-ranked Falcons will find out if they qualify for the NCAA tournament on November 13th.