Box Score in PDF
Orem, Utah - After a hard fought battle of blood sweat and tears on Clyde Field, Air Force concluded their season as the Western Athletic Conference tournament runner-up; falling, 1-2, to UNLV in the tournament championship. The Falcons’ 14 wins tie the 1996 season for the second most single-season wins in program history. The Falcons final season slate is 14-7-1 and 6-3-1 in the WAC.
Rebel goals leader Danny Musovski, who won the tournament’s MVP honors, netted both UNLV goals in the championship match. His first strike came in the 12th minute from Marquis Pitt’s assist.
In the 35th minute with the Falcons down, 0-1, the refs missed a crucial hand ball call in the penalty box to keep the wind in the UNLV sails until the end of the period.
Determined to get back in it in the second half, the Falcons went on the offensive and peppered the UNLV goalkeeper with shots. A deflected shot which lead to a corner kick set the Falcons up for their first strike.
With 12 minutes remaining in the match, Ryan Ward sent a corner kick into the box where John Sims executed a remarkable side kick in full elevation to drill the ball into the Rebel’s upper-90 for the equalizer. Ward was credited with his third assist of the season while Sims registered his seventh goal.
Less than a minute later Musovski attacked the Falcons box, shaking two defenders to get the one-on-one with John Wendt. Musovski got Wendt off the ball and finished with the match-winning goal. The Falcons spent the final 10 minutes desperately pounding into the Rebels side of the pitch but were unable to find the scoring opportunity.
At the final whistle the Falcons outshot the Rebels, 12-4. Tucker Bone led the team in shots with four while Sims had three with a goal.
“It was a story book season,” said head coach Doug Hill. “We thought we had more chapters to write but unfortunately it ended before we wanted it to.”
“I’m proud of the guys and the way they battled all season,” continued Hill. “They brought tremendous mentality, effort and attitude to every match and they fought extremely hard until the very end.”
Senior team captains Cameron Duley and A.J. Esparza, along with Tucker Axhoj, Hunter Robinson and Ward concluded their Air Force careers with the best season of their four years at the Academy.
“I’m proud to coach the men at the Air Force Academy,” Hill explained. “I feel for our seniors; they put so much effort, heart, blood, sweat and tears into the season-- they’ll go on to do great things in the Air Force, so it was a great season and it was a lot to be proud of.”
Trey Pujats, Sims and Duley were named to the all-tournament team at the conclusion of the championship match.