THIS WEEK: The 12th-ranked Falcons enjoyed a first-round bye in the WAC’s post-season tournament, hosted by UNLV, Nov. 8-12. They will play their first post-season conference playoff match against San Jose State, Friday, Nov. 10, at 4:00 p.m. Finlay Wood and Zach Penner scored in the second half of the match as San José State University defeated University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, 2-0, in the quarterfinals match.
THE SERIES WITH SAN JOSE STATE: The Falcons and Spartans will be meeting for the 39th time in program history; San Jose State leads the series, 22-11-5. Earlier this season, Austin Dewing was the man on fire in San Jose as he recorded his first career hat trick and team-high seven-point performance, leading the then-15th-ranked Air Force Falcons to a 4-0 victory over the Spartans at Spartan Soccer Complex. Air Force recorded its first four-goal performance and 10th shutout of the season in the victory.
LAST WEEKEND: Jaric Marton’s goal in the 98th minute lifted the 14th-ranked Falcons to a 2-1 come-from-behind overtime victory in the regular season finale against UMKC, Saturday afternoon. Air Force concluded 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.
LAST TIME AT THE WAC TOURNAMENT: Austin Dewing and John Sims registered a goal apiece in the 2-0 shut out over CSU Bakersfield in the opening round of the 2016 tournament. In the semi-finals, a second half surge lifted the Falcons to a 3-1 victory over 2015 WAC champions, Seattle University. The Falcons returned to the WAC Championship for the first time since playing Fresno State in the 1996 finals match. 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, 2-1, to UNLV in the tournament championship. The 14-win season was one shy of tying the program record for single-season wins.
LET’S GET TOGETHER: As the Falcons travel to Las Vegas, Air Force Athletics and the Falcon Pride Club would like to invite all to a gathering of parents, friends and alumni at Bandito Latin Kitchen & Cantina (325 Hughes Center Dr., Las Vegas, NV, 89169) on November 10th, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Appetizers will be provided. Join us as we prepare for the Falcon’s semifinal game in the WAC Soccer Tournament! If you will be in attendance or need any further information, please feel free to contact Andrew Weigand at Andrew.Weigand@Airforceathletics.org or by phone at (724) 991-3481.
A YEAR FOR THE RECORD BOOKS: In his 11th season at the helm of the men’s soccer team, head coach Doug Hill continues to guide the team to new heights, producing his most successful regular-season to date, including a program-best 11-1 record at home. The 2017 WAC Coach of the Year led Air Force to its first ever WAC men’s soccer title. Previous to this season, the Falcons’ best finish in WAC play was a second-place finish in 1996, finishing just two points behind Fresno State. This year’s tournament bid marks the second-straight year of the Falcons competing in WAC post-season action. The Falcons’ 10 shutouts are a program-best since coach Hill took the helm in the 2007 season. Last year, Hill’s Falcons were only one win shy (14) of the program record for single-season wins (15); if the Falcons win out the conference championship, they can beat the record by one match.
WAC ANNUAL AWARD WINNERS: Coach Hill was dubbed the WAC’s coach of the year for the first time since joining the league. Eight Falcons earned spots on the All-WAC teams; Tucker Bone, Oscar Chacon and John Wendt were added to the first-team, while Klint Parker, Trey Pujats and James Sims were added to the second team. Danny Han and Luis Martinez earned honorable mentions. The honor marks Bone’s second time on the first-team. Wendt makes his first appearance on the first-team after being added to last year’s second-team.
ON THE MAP: Air Force continues its reign in the national polls as the Falcons are ranked ninth in the Soccer America Top 25, 12th in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25, 14th in the College Soccer News Top 30 and 18th in the Top Drawer Soccer Top 25. Air Force is 20th in the latest RPI rankings released by the NCAA. The United Soccer Coaches West Region Ranking stayed virtually the same this week. Air Force continues to hold down the top spot, followed by Seattle U in second. UNLV moved up one spot to fifth in the rankings.
THE WAC-- STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Air Force finished up the regular season leading the WAC in least goals allowed (10), goals against average (0.53) and shutouts. UNLV was tops in points (103), goals (34) and assists (35). Seattle U led the league in shots (378) and corner kicks (136) while Houston Baptist was tops in saves (88).
Individually, Seattle U’s Alex Roldan was the leader in shots with 90. UNLV’s Danny Musovski led the way in points (34) and goals (14) while Air Force duo Tucker Bone andAustin Dewing tied for the lead in assists (7). Fellow Falcon Klint Parker had a WAC-best four game-winning goals in the regular season while teammate John Wendt was the top keeper with a 0.65 goals against average. UT Rio Grande Valley’s Esa Aalto finished the regular season with the top save percentage (.815) while Kansas City’s Filippo Errico was the saves leader with 80. Seattle U’s Josh Adachi was the leader in shutouts, finishing with eight.
In WAC-only play, Air Force again led the league in least goals allowed (7) and goals against average (0.66) and tied for the lead in shutouts (4) with Seattle U and San José State. Seattle U was also the leader in shots (214) and corners (78). UNLV was tops in points (69), goals (23) and assists (23). Houston Baptist tied the WAC record for saves in league play with 65.
Individually, SU’s Roldan was the leader in shots (51), a new WAC record, and UNLV’s Musovski was the leader in points (22) and goals (9). AF’s Bone was the assist leader (6). UNLV’s Timo Mehlich and UMKC’s Eric McWoods tied for the lead in game-winning goals with three each while UTRGV’s Aalto posted the top goals against average (0.78) and save percentage (.815). CSU Bakersfield’s Detre Bell and Grand Canyon’s Jeremy Pollard finished with 49 saves each in conference play. SU’s Adachi and San José State’s David Heredia tied for the lead in shutouts with four each.