Falcon Men’s Soccer Advances to WAC Championship
Nov. 11, 2016

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Orem, Utah - A second half surge lifted the Falcons to a 3-1 victory over 2015 WAC champions Seattle University, Friday afternoon, at Utah Valley University’s Clyde Field.  The Falcons, who now have an overall record of 14-6-1 and 6-3-1 in the WAC, advance to the WAC tournament championship, Sun., Nov. 13 at 1:00 p.m. MT.  The Falcons will play the winner of the semi-finals match between Utah Valley and UNLV.

Seattle took the field at a high tempo, relentlessly pressing the ball into the Falcons’ side of the pitch and taking attempts on junior goalkeeper John Wendt. The Redhawks’ Kyle Bjornethun made the first strike of the match in 15th minute with a header from the corner kick, which spelled trouble for Air Force who is 1-5 when opponents score first.

Undeterred, the Falcons battled back.  With less than a minute left in the first half and trailing by one, Austin Guerrero charged into the box for a shot where he drew a foul at the Redhawks’ 18-yard mark to set the Falcons up for a free kick.

First team all-WAC defender, Cameron Duley lined up for the free kick where he gave the ball a small tap to Tucker Axhoj who sent a laser beam into the upper-90 to knot the game at one going into halftime. The goal marked Axhoj’s fourth of the season while Duley was credited with his second assist on the season.

The late first half goal gave the Falcons their mojo leading into the second half where they returned to the pitch more aggressive and highly motivated.

In the 48th minute against the setting sun, Duley sent the ball from the sideline into the Seattle box where John Sims redirected it with a header to Jaric Marton on far corner of the box.  Marton cocked back and launched the ball into the far post for his first goal of the season.  Duley and Sims were credited with their third and second assists of the season, respectively.

Duley continued to lead the Falcon charge as the senior defenseman shackled up a Seattle ball handler and mustered a steal. Duley immediately looked up to find Tucker Bone in full stride down field. Duley sent a magnificent ball down the pitch where Bone received and dribbled into a one-on-one showdown with the Seattle netminder.  Bone worked his magic to get the goalkeeper off the ball and placed it into the lower right corner for the Falcons’ third goal. The goal marked Bone’s fifth of the season; Duley registered a career-single game high three assists. Duley has four assists on the season.

The Redhawks battled hard to get back in the match as they took 12 shots in the second period.  Wendt had his work cut out for him facing 17 shots with eight on goal. The Sylvania, Ohio native registered seven saves at the end of regulation.  Junior midfielder Trey Pujats was instrumental in holding the Redhawk’s goals leader Alex Roldan to no goals. The explosive Falcon offense and lockdown defensive effort propelled the Falcons to their second WAC championship game in program history.

“We had a tremendous effort on defense,” explained head coach Doug Hill. “The guys did a great job shutting down their key player and I’m exceptionally happy with the effort our guys brought to the field.”

“The guys played a quality game,” Hill continued.  “We started to impose our game on them in the second half and now we’re looking forward to doing that for 90 minutes in Sunday’s championship match.”

The Falcons will take the championship pitch against the winner of the semi-finals match between Utah Valley and UNLV, Sun., Nov. 13, at 1:00 p.m. The WAC championship winner will earn an automatic bid into the NCAA championship tournament.

 


 

 

John Sims AF AotW
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