In its final home game of the season, the Air Force lacrosse team picked up a 13-6 non-conference victory over Detroit Sunday afternoon at the Cadet Lacrosse Stadium. The win marked the third-straight victory for the Falcons, who improve to 6-6 on the year. Meanwhile, the Titans, in their first year of varsity competition, finished their inaugural season with an 0-11 mark.
Leading the Falcons on Senior Day was team captain Griffin Nevitt (Sr., Charlotte, N.C.), who tallied a season-high five points (three goals, two assists), while sophomore Vinny Sandtorv (Centereach, N.Y.) added two goals and two assists.
The Titans were first to get on the board with a score from Matt Gregson just one minute into the opening period, before Nevitt gave Air Force its first score of the day with an assist from Sandtorv at the 8:26 mark. The Falcons added another quick goal off the ensuing face-off, as senior long-stick midfielder Dan Gnazzo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) fed Adam Paranka (Fr., Denver, Colo.) to put Air Force up 2-1.
The Falcons scored three more goals in the first period , while adding two unanswered scores in the second quarter, including a goal from Gnazzo on an assist from freshman defender Dayton Gilbreath (Bainbridge Island, Wash.). Holding Detroit to just two shots total in the first half, Air Force went into the break with a 7-1 advantage.
Detroit came out of the intermission with another quick score, just over a minute into the third period, while senior Eric Evans (Ellicott City, Md.) increased the Falcons’ lead back to seven goals with a score at the 11:04 mark. Those would prove to be the only two goals of the period, as Air Force took an 8-2 lead into the final stanza.
In the fourth quarter, the two teams combined for nine goals, starting with man-up score from Nevitt, on an assist from junior Ridge Flick (Plano, Texas). The Titans countered with their first man-up tally of the afternoon with 11:19 on the clock, while Flick scored his first goal of the game, assisted by Nevitt, 46 seconds later. Detroit followed with a pair of back-to-back goals in less than a minute to get back within five, but senior K.J. Landgraf (Cordova, Md.) scored his only goal of the day at the 8:12 mark to put Air Force back on the board.
The Titans were able to score once more with 6:20 on the clock, but Air Force added another score right off the face-off, this time with sophomore defender Bryan Gilbreath (Bainbridge Island, Wash.) getting the assist from senior long-stick midfielder Jeff Pecora (Dover, Del.). With the Falcons emptying their bench in the final minutes, Air Force was able to tack on another score, an unassisted goal from senior Brian Massa (Jamesville, N.Y.), his first of the season.
Air Force outshot Detroit 54-15 for the game, including 32-3 in the first half. The Falcons also won 17-of-23 face-offs, including 4-of-6 by senior Sean Millner (Huntington, N.Y.). For the second-straight game, the penalty kill was a huge strength for the Falcons, who limited the Titans to scoring on one of six man-up attempts.
In addition to Nevitt and Sandtorv, other Falcons scoring multiple points on Sunday were Paranka (two goals), Evans (one goal, one assist), Flick (one goal, one assist) and Gnazzo (one goal, one assist). Meanwhile, Vince Wigdahl was the leading scorer for the Titans with two goals and one assist, while Detroit goalkeeper Vince Diana tallied 20 saves.
The Falcons wrap up the regular season next weekend, April 25, when they visit in-state rival Denver in a conference match-up. The game is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Barton Lacrosse Stadium.