Late Goals Lift Air Force to First MPSF Title

Air Force earns its first MPSF Championship Trophy

Nov. 12, 2012

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AIR FORCE (10-8-4 Overall, 5-3-2 MPSF) followed up an MPSF Tournament Quarterfinal win over UNLV (4-2), with a pair of second half and overtime comebacks to pencil in its first ever MPSF Championship (dating to 1992). The Falcons fought back to beat Pacific Division Champ CSUB (2-1, 2 OT) in the semifinal and host No. 1 seed New Mexico in penalty kicks (1-1, 5-4 pk's). Kevin Durr forced OT with 16 seconds left in regulation vs. UNM, while Brian Klazura's hit the semifinal winner at 102:20. Air Force visits Washington for NCAA first-round play Thursday.

NO. 9 NEW MEXICO (16-3-1 Overall, 8-2-0 MPSF hosted this year's MPSF Championship Tournament, defeating Denver in the semifinals, 3-0. The win marked a seventh consecutive shutout victory (645 minutes of action), and 11th on the season, for the Lobos. MPSF Newcomer of the Year Ben McKendry scored twice in that game, and once in the final. New Mexico received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, receiving a first-round bye. The Lobos host the Virginia/Lafayette first-round winner for a Sunday (Nov. 18) second-round contest.

CSU BAKERSFIELD (9-5-5 Overall, 6-3-1 MPSF) dropped its semifinal game to eventual champion Air Force, 2-1 in overtime. MPSF Player of the Year Gyasi Zardes struck from the top of the six in the 39th-minute, assisted by David Velasquez. Zardes finished atop the conference with 15 goals and 39 points this year, while goalkeeper Eric Shannon had six shutouts and carried a 0.98 goals-against average, ranking second in each.

DENVER (11-6-3 Overall, 5-4-1 MPSF) clipped No. 5 seed San Jose State in the quarterfinals, 2-1 in overtime. Cole Chapleski put the Pioneers in the semifinals with a game-winning goal, assisted by Taylor Hunter just 1:39 into OT despite being a man down. Josh Wren also delivered via Zach Bolden in the 25th-minute, his eighth goal to get Denver on the board. Bolden's 10th assist is second best in the MPSF, while he and Wren had 20 points (T-5th).

SAN JOSE STATE (8-9-1 Overall, 5-4-1 MPSF) was ousted by No. 4 seed Denver in the quarterfinals, 2-1 in overtime. Jonathan Salceda scored his seventh goal of the year (MPSF T-6th), assisted by Steve Sanchez in the 49th-minute, for an equalizer. Sanchez finishes the year with nine goals (MPSF 3rd) and 21 points (MPSF T-3rd). Salceda's 20 points also ties for fifth in the conference.

UNLV (6-14-1 Overall, 4-6-0 MPSF) dropped its MPSF Quarterfinal game to third-seeded Air Force last Thursday, 4-1. Eddie Vega assisted on Sal Bernal's team-high eighth goal (MPSF T-4th) in the 35th-minute. Bernal added five assists this year for another team-high 21 points (MPSF T-3rd).