Air Force Wins First MPSF Title in Shootout

MPSF Tournament MVP Kevin Durr

Nov. 11, 2012

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Albuquerque, NM---Air Force Midfielder and MPSF Tournament MVP Kevin Durr fired in an unassisted game-tying goal with 16 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, which led to winning the shootout over No. 1 seed and host New Mexico, 5-3, for the Falcons' first-ever MPSF Title on Sunday. The game officially goes down as a 1-1 tie, though Air Force takes the crown and automatic NCAA Tournament bid thanks to the penalty kick results.

On a chilly and very windy fall afternoon, the game was played at a grinding pace. The wind wreaked havoc with high balls and long crosses, which kept the game on the ground. There were limited scoring opportunities in the match's first 45 minutes, but New Mexico did make the only shot on goal in the first half count.

Midfielder Michael Kafari received the ball during an attacking run. The junior stopped short of the box and flicked a pass over the head of a defender to freshman Ben McKendry. McKendry flicked the high arching shot in for the goal from the middle of the box in the 30th minute. It was McKendry's seventh goal of the season and his third goal in two matches in the MPSF Tournament.

The first half ended without any further scoring, and New Mexico leading in shots 5-0 while only taking two corner kicks.

New Mexico got additional threatening chances in first minutes of the second half, which included four corner kicks within a five-minute span. However, the Lobos would be unable to register a shot off any of the corner kicks from Blake Smith and Michael Calderon.

The Falcons nearly tied the game in the 55th minute when Durr fired a blistering shot from the top of the box that an out-stretched goalkeeper Patrick Poblete was just able to deflect.

The Academy's equalizer came in the final moments of the game on an Air Force free kick. The Falcons would send the set piece into the box as a scramble ensued. The ball would be cleared out by New Mexico but right to Durr at the top of the box, who blasted home the game-tying goal.

New Mexico forced a second overtime after Poblete made a pair of saves within 14 seconds of one another. It was the Lobos who forced the saves in the second overtime, which included Matt Underwood's save of a Smith shot from the left side of the box in the 104th minute.

After a pair of scoreless overtimes, the match went into a shootout. Each team would convert their first three penalty kicks, but the Lobos were the first to miss when Calderon's shot ricocheted off the cross bar. Air Force's Scott McGillvray would convert his penalty kick to clinch the shootout victory for the Falcons.

New Mexico (16-3-1) will look for an at-large berth during the NCAA Selection show on Monday November, 12 (2:30 pm PT).