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2019 Men’s College Lacrosse Year In Review: #29 Air Force Falcons

The Falcons returned to the SoCon Tournament and have plenty of young players looking to take the program back to the top of the conference.

Air Force Athletics

With the 2019 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to look back at how all 73 teams did during the season, along with an early look at each squad for 2020.

Note: These are not end of season rankings.

Here’s our last five Year In Review posts we’ve done:

To see all of our posts, check out the 2019 Year In Review section on the site.

Let’s continue our 2019 Year In Review!

#29 Air Force Falcons

Conference: SoCon
2019 Record: 10-5 (6-1 in SoCon)
Postseason: Lost to Richmond in SoCon semifinals
Head coach: Bill Wilson (2nd Season)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Trey Lervick (36)
Assists: Trey Lervick and Cameron Carter (17)
Points: Trey Lervick (53)
Faceoffs: Trent Harper (195-of-292; 66.8%)
Ground balls: Trent Harper (90)
Caused turnovers: Brandon Jones (29)
Goals against average: Braden Host (7.74 GAA)
Save percentage: Braden Host (51.3%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: D Brandon Jones (29 CTs, 76 GBs, 4 Gs, 1 A), M Jack Flynn (18 Gs, 5 As, 30 GBs, 1 CT), FOGO Trent Harper (66.8% FOs, 90 GBs, 3 CTs, 2 Gs, 3 As), SSDM Roland Wheeler IV (9 CTs, 16 GBs), M Tim Baker (15 Gs, 4 As, 6 GBs, 3 CTs), A Cameron Carter (4 Gs, 17 As, 13 GBs, 1 CT), LSM Christian Pung (4 CTs, 8 GBs)
Senior scoring departing: 79 of 269 points (29.4%)
Senior starts lost: 66 of 150 (44%)

Season Summary

With last year’s 5-10 wild season behind them, Air Force was notably better as expected with a 10-5 mark. The Falcons also returned to the SoCon Tournament but were unable to capture their third conference crown in four years.

After opening their season with a loss to Denver, Air Force responded with two good wins over Marist and Cleveland State, the second coming in the Pioneer Face Off Classic. The team played a very rare back-to-back weekend, with the second game coming against a first-year Utah program. Despite holding a 4-1 lead in the first half, the Utes scored five of the final six goals en route to upsetting the Falcons.

Air Force went on a four-game winning streak, beginning with a big second half rally against Canisius. SoCon play began after a Detroit Mercy victory with triumphs over Mercer and Furman, two teams in the bottom of the conference. The Falcons suffered a seven-goal loss to defending national champion Yale in the middle of the week before picking up a win against Jacksonville.

But Air Force suffered their first conference loss to High Point, the favorite to win the conference at the time, in part to five and four goal runs. The following week, the Falcons earned their best victory of the season as they doubled up on defending conference champion Richmond at home. Air Force used seven and five goal runs to carry them to victory. The two teams met again in the SoCon semifinals after the Falcons defeated VMI and Bellarmine to close out the regular season. Air Force went on a three-goal run to take a 6-5 lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Spiders scored two goals to take a 7-6 lead with 3:20 to go. Trey Lervick had both Air Force shots for the remainder of the game, including one that hit the post, but could not help the Falcons get the win.

Lervick was accompanied by Matthew Schwartz for the majority of the season at attack. Christian Kuhn, Chet Dunstan, August Johnson, and Cameron Carter also saw time as starters on attack. Jack Flynn, Tim Baker, and Matthew O’Rourk were the primary midfielders with Gianni Orlando, Jake Thornally, and Kevin Cox also contributing.

Brandon Jones was the senior leader at close defense with a team-high 29 caused turnovers along with 76 ground balls. Sophomore Vince Lombardi and freshman Quentin Carlile stepped up as well with at least 15 caused turnovers. Christian Pung and Roland Wheeler IV were key senior defensive midfielders at LSM and SSDM respectively. Sterling Ceshker was behind Pung at LSM, and Christian Marshall and Kyle Richbourg also played SSDM. Braden Host was one of the best goalies in the nation with a nation-best 7.75 goals against average and started in all 15 games. Trent Harper was in the top five nationally in faceoff win percentage at 66.8%.

Looking Ahead

There is some motivation for the Falcons to return to the top of the SoCon, especially from Lervick and Schwartz. And Air Force knows they’re still close to returning to that point.

The defense has plenty of holes to fill, primarily with Jones, Wheeler, and Harper at the faceoff X. Carlile and Lombardi have played very well and will anchor the defense for the next two seasons. At the X, Ryan Lynch has been the team’s No. 2 FOGO and went 37.5% last season on 40 draws.

On offense, look for O’Rourk, Kuhn Johnson, and Orlando to take another step forward and contend for a potential starting spot or two. Having Lervick back will certainly help down low at attack.

Poll

How many wins will Air Force get in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    0-5
    (5 votes)
  • 10%
    6-7
    (4 votes)
  • 45%
    8-9
    (17 votes)
  • 29%
    10+
    (11 votes)
37 votes total Vote Now