Air Force reached new heights advancing to the third round of the NCAA men’s soccer tournament, but they were unable to advance after facing a talented Indiana Hoosiers squad.
IU was able to strike quickly and efficiently. Both Austin Panchot and Timmy Mehl scored early for the Hoosiers and although the Falcons were able to prevent any shots for nearly 20 minutes for the remainder of the first half, they were unable to create any significant scoring threat against the 8 time national champion Hoosiers.
There was a dramatic difference in play between Indiana and Air Force’s previous opponents. IU was able to spread their talent across the pitch with zone play versus marking men individually which allowed them to conserve their energy for high tempo possessions.
Indiana’s talent seemed endless. Their offense played as a cohesive unit and spread out evenly, limiting the space for the Falcon’s to formulate an attack, while the defense rarely allowed Air Force within striking distance.
Air Force’s usual stars like Austin Dewing and Tucker Bone played extremely well, but they were unable to break away for any meaningful scoring opportunities and often found themselves double teamed during any offensive opportunities.
Although the Falcons fell to the talented Hoosiers, their season was the best to date, finishing with a 17-5 record. Even with high hopes being taken down, Air Force has a lot to be proud of.
While Indiana is graduating several players with MLS and US National Team potential, Air Force is graduating several All American players of its own. Doug Hill has proven himself as a successful coach and with the Falcons’ success, this is surely not the last they’ve seen of the NCAA tournament.