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Around the Yard: It’s Tourney Time!

The calendar to March and that means it’s conference tournament time!

NCAA Basketball: San Jose State at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Air Force:

Hockey secures home ice: The Air Force hockey team sent their seniors out in style over the weekend, coming from behind to defeat Holy Cross 4-2 and secure home ice in the quarterfinals of the AHC tournament that begins next week. The Falcons will be the three seed in the tournament and their opponent will be determined by the first round games this weekend.

Men’s basketball prepares for huge home game: The Air Force men’s basketball team has exceeded expectations and currently sit with an 8-8 conference record with two games remaining. Their opponent tonight just happens to be the number 17 team in the country in the Nevada Wolfpack. Nevada is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Utah State while the Falcons are coming off back-to-back victories against San Jose State and Wyoming.

As if this matchup wasn’t big enough, the Falcons head coach Dave Pilipovich has 1,000 complimentary tickets he is giving away to fans and Falcons football player Garrett Kauppila is looking to rally the troops to #MakeCluneGreatAgain and get a raucous crowd out in Colorado Springs tonight.

*Update: Air Force fought hard against the Wolfpack and the crowd at Clune certainly seemed energized, but they dropped a hard fought contest 90-79. They were down by only 4 at the half, but were unable to complete the comeback with their home crowd behind them on senior night. Of note, Lavelle Scottie surpassed the 1,000 point mark for his career.

Air Force Lacrosse Back in Win Column: The Air Force lacrosse team got back in the win column over the weekend, using a huge second half surge to beat Canisius by a final score of 13-7. Trailing by one at the half, the Falcons turned it on in the third quarter, outscoring the Griffins 9-2 in the remaining two quarters of play to get their record back above .500 at 3-2. Freshman August Johnson led the way with 6 points on 4 goals and 2 assists. Up next is a mid-week tilt against Detroit Mercy before kicking off Southern Conference play against Mercer next weekend.

Army:

Lacrosse Maintains Ranking: The Army West Point men’s lacrosse team started off Patriot League play the right way by defeating Lafayette behind a superb performance from freshman Brendan Nichtern who scored a career-high eight points on the day. There was never any doubt in this one once the game got to the third quarter as it was all Black Knights the rest of the way with a final score of 12-5.

Also of note, Johnny Surdick was named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List last week as was Navy’s Greyson Torain.

Women’s Lacrosse Stays Unbeaten: The Black Knights needed a late rally to stay undefeated on the season but they got the job done, defeating Monmouth 15-14 on seven unanswered goals to take their record to a perfect 6-0. Those final seven goals were over just the last 11 minutes of the contest. Freshman Caroline Raymond picked up her third rookie of the week honor on the season for her efforts in the win. Next up is a matches against VCU and Villanova before kicking off Patriot League play against preseason favorites Loyola on March 16th!

Hovren Has Huge Week: Senior Madison Hovren had a huge week for the Army Women’s basketball team as she used back-to-back double-doubles to take home Patriot League Player of the Week honors. Against Colgate, she tied a career-high with 35 points and added 14 rebounds. She was able to follow that up with a ho hum pedestrian 23 and 11 against BU last weekend. She now leads the league in scoring (19.0) and rebounding (12.9) and is looking like a strong candidate for Player of the Year. She has scored in double figures now in 23 straight games. Hopefully this will translate into Patriot League tournament success as the Black Knights look to host a first round game this Saturday.

Navy:

Lacrosse Has Victorious Weekend: It was a big weekend for Navy lacrosse as both the men and women notched huge victories. On the men’s side, Navy soundly defeated Bucknell in the Patriot League opener for each school. Christian Daniel recorded a career-high seven points enroute to the 14-8 Midshipmen victory.

This got Navy ranked, but unfortunately, they were defeated by Princeton this afternoon as they had absolutely no answer for Michael Sowers and the Tigers and dropped the mid-week decision 19-11.

The women’s lacrosse team continued their last minute heroics with an incredible come from behind victory over the visiting Florida Gators. The Mids got off to a slow start but were able to overcome a five goal deficit in the second half, finishing it off on a Kelly Larkin goal with just 16 seconds left to take their only lead of the entire afternoon.

That win has Navy (4-1) now has Navy up to as high as 12th in the polls as they prepare to welcome the #1 team in the land in Boston College on Wednesday!

Men’s Basketball Locks Up 5 Seed: The Navy men’s basketball team was able to hold off Boston in the Patriot League regular season finale by a final score of 79-74. That victory helped secure the Mids the number 5 seed in the Patriot League tournament, a three seed improvement over their preseason projection of eighth in the league. Navy will travel just down the road to Washington D.C. to take on American on Thursday.

With the end of the regular season comes league honors and Hasan Abdullah and John Carter Jr. both picked up some hardware. Although it could be argued that Carter Jr. should have won rookie of the year for the Patriot League since he led the league in both scoring and rebounding for freshmen, he still picked up an All-Rookie team nod. Abdullah earned third-team league honors as well as being named to the defensive team for the Patriot League. The senior point guard will be looking to carry the momentum from that final regular season victory and pick up a quarterfinal victory this week!

Lauren Barber Caps Historic Career: It’s been a huge couple weeks for Navy men’s and women’s swimming and diving as they won both Patriot League titles as well as ECAC titles in back to back weeks.

These two teams are dominant year in and year out in the Patriot League, but senior Lauren Barber has taken the bar and raised it to an entirely new level. She capped off her historic Patriot League career by winning seven events for the Midshipmen to give her TWENTY EIGHT gold medals in her illustrious career. She won all twelve of her individual career events she ever raced in at the Patriot League Championships and her 28 gold medals is eight more than anyone else has ever won. Congrats on a tremendous career Lauren!