LEXINGTON, Va. - Sticking close to the visiting Falcons through the opening quarter, the VMI lacrosse team struggled to keep pace with Air Force the rest of the way as the Keydets fell by a 14-4 score Saturday afternoon at Drill Field No. 2.
The Keydets (2-10, 0-5) went down by two scores in the opening minutes but rallied to score three unanswered goals midway through the period to grab a 3-2 lead. The Falcons (8-5, 4-1) tied it up a minute later and scored once more before the end of the quarter for a 4-3 advantage, a lead they would not relinquish.
"I was happy with the way we started this game," said VMI head coach Jon Birsner. "We were making stops and keeping possession time even through the first 20 minutes, but with our current injuries they were able to chip away at us over the 60 minutes.
"Regardless of the score, we didn't play bad defense, but you can't hold a team under 10 goals if you lose 18 faceoffs and have 17 turnovers. For an opponent to have 35 extra possessions is tough to compete against. But with all of that, I'm proud of our defense's grit today, especially goalie Joe Riccadonna. The switch to zone allowed us to give up more outside shots from farther away and Joe did a great job seeing it and helped keep the game within reach for awhile."
Senior Brad Nardella put the Keydets on the board first with a goal at the 6:18 mark before Tristan Capes-Davis scored his first goal of the year just 15 seconds later as he penetrated the Falcon defense after a faceoff and snuck it past the goalie. Senior attack Chris Spada notched a goal two minutes later to give VMI the lead.
The Falcons would go on to score eight unanswered goals during the second and third quarters to pull away for the win. Freshman Donald Proper earned his first career goal as a Keydet at the 10:42 mark of the fourth quarter, but the game was already out of reach as Air Force put in four insurance goals to finish the match.
Chris Walsch paced the Falcons with four goals on the day while Nick Hruby added two more. Eight other Falcons scored individual goals.
VMI returns to action next Saturday on the road with a league game at Furman slated for a noon start in Greenville, South Carolina.