The Air Force Falcons became the 21st Division I lacrosse team to announce their 2017 regular season schedule Wednesday, which was during the start of the signing period for recruits in the Class of 2017. The Falcons won the Southern Conference championship in their first season in the conference after defeating Richmond in overtime. They also had the Nation’s Longest Winning Streak™ at 15 games before falling to Notre Dame in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. Let’s dive into this schedule.
The Falcons have a scrimmage against Notre Dame in South Bend for the third straight year, before opening the season on the road against Duke on February 5. Last year, they stunned the Blue Devils in Durham, 10-9, in overtime back in March. They return to Colorado to take on the Denver Pioneers in Denver on February 11. Air Force’s first home game is seven days later on the 18th against MAAC opponent Marist. Last year in Poughkeepsie, the Falcons defeated the Red Foxes in overtime, 7-6, to start the Nation’s Longest Winning Streak™. The Falcons will return back to Denver for the annual Pioneer Face-Off Classic, where they’ll take on Cleveland State February 25, and Canisius February 26.
Boston University is a new team to the Air Force schedule this season, as the two teams will play each other at BU March 4. The Falcons are back at home on March 11 to take on Detroit Mercy, who they defeated last year in Detroit, 7-5. SoCon play opens up in Macon, Georgia on March 18 against Mercer, which was a tight 15-13 contest in favor of the Falcons last year up at the Air Force Academy. Jacksonville makes a visit on March 25, while last year’s Big East champion Marquette gets to host the Falcons in Milwaukee on March 28. Marquette is also a new addition to the schedule.
SoCon opponents take the Falcons through the entire month of April, beginning with a home contest against Bellarmine on April 1. In two contests last season, the Falcons beat the Knights, 8-7 in overtime in Kentucky, and 10-8 in the SoCon semifinals. A two-game road trip follows with Furman on April 8 and VMI on April 15. Air Force wraps up the regular season against two of the toughest SoCon opponents. First, they host Richmond on April 22 in their home finale, and it could decide the top seed in the SoCon Tournament. The regular season finale at High Point on April 29 could also do the same thing, if not possible seeding for the tournament for the following week, which is once again in Richmond in the first week of May.
Navy is not on this year’s schedule, as it seems like the home-and-home between the two service academies was just for 2015 and 2016.
Looking at the roster now, juniors Chris Walsch and Nick Hruby return after finishing one-two in scoring last season. Walsch was an USILA All-American Honorable Mention last season. Attackmen Andrew Tien and Cameron Carter also return. On defense, sophomore Brandon Jones and junior Sean LaVine return to anchor the unit and hope to replace some of the load left by Alex Warden, who was also an All-American Honorable Mention. With Doug Gouchoe gone in goal, sophomores Fitzhugh Lee and Ernie Alvino will compete for the starting goaltending spot. Junior Josh Radjenovich is back to take the majority of the face-offs this season.
Here’s a list of who’s released their schedules so far:
Hofstra, St. Joe’s, Towson, and UMass Lowell