Smith and Hurto Lead Butler Past Air Force, 11-7

Sophomore Cliff Smith and junior Pat Hurto combined for seven goals, as Butler sped past visiting Air Force, 11-7, Friday afternoon at the Butler Bowl in Indianapolis. The Bulldogs got out to a 6-2 halftime advantage and held off the Falcons in the second half to improve to 4-8 overall and 1-2 in Great Western Lacrosse League play. The Falcons fall to 7-7 (2-1).

Hurto started the scoring at the 9:16 mark of the first period, taking a pass from junior Adam Wade and flipping it behind his head to beat Air Force netminder Justin Pavoni. Doug Mathias scored less than two minutes later off a Smith assist for a 2-0 advantage. After an Air Force answer, Butler senior Phil Brauch got loose and scored to give Butler a 3-1 first period lead.

Hurto opened the second period with a goal at the 10:09 mark, beating Pavoni high with a Falcon defender on his back. Just 1:10 later, Smith took a feed from Will Morgan and scored for a 5-1 Butler lead. After an Air Force score, Smith closed out the first-half scoring with a man-up goal with 37 seconds to play in the first half. Ben Sultze assisted on the tally.

Air Force abandoned its zone defense to play man-to-man in the second half, but freshman Jeremy Sieverts scored unassisted just 26 seconds into the third period for a 7-2 lead, matching Butler's largest of the game. The teams then each scored two goals to finish out the third period scoring. Hurto and Smith scored for Butler, giving each three goals on the afternoon. Down 9-4, Air Force scored the first two goals of the fourth period to pull within three at 9-6 before Sultze iced the game with a goal at the 6:22 mark off a Sieverts assist.

Smith scored his fourth goal of the game, eluding a double-team from Pavoni to roll one into an open net with 1:26 to play. His five points led all players.

Air Force out-shot Butler, 32-21, but the Bulldogs enjoyed a 41-32 ground ball advantage. The teams split 22 face-offs. Butler killed all five of the Falcons' extra-man opportunities.

Freshman Kyle Harer picked up his first Butler win between the pipes, going the distance and making 10 saves. Harer, Carlos Navarro and Brendan Flanagan each had six ground balls for Butler. Senior captain Steve Forsythe added four.

Pavoni had 11 saves, including several spectacular stops of quality Butler scoring opportunities in the second half. Will Meister led the Falcons with two goals and an assist.

The Bulldogs return to action Sunday, hosting Denver at 1:00 p.m. at the Butler Bowl. Butler's eight seniors will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony as they suit up for their final home contest.

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Indianapolis, Ind. - Giving up a 6-2 advantage at the half, the Air Force lacrosse team fell to host Butler, 11-7, Friday afternoon at the Butler Bowl. The Falcons fall to 7-7 on the season, 2-1 in the GWLL, while the Bulldogs move to 7-4 on the year, 1-2 in league play.

Butler scored the first two goals of the contest before freshman Griffin Nevitt (Charlotte, N.C.) put Air Force on the board with an unassisted goal at the 5:24 mark in the opening period. However, the Bulldogs scored three more unanswered goals over the next 11 and a half minutes to take the 5-1 lead. Nevitt assisted on the Falconsí next score, a goal by junior Conrad Lochocki with just over seven minutes remaining in the half, but a man-up goal by Butlerís Cliff Smith with 37 seconds before intermission gave the Bulldogs the 6-2 halftime lead.

It took just 26 seconds for Butler to score after the break, but Air Force tri-captain Will Meister (Denver, Colo.) put the Falcons back in the scoring column at the 8:26 mark with his first goal of the game. Even so, the Bulldogs extended their lead to 9-4 with a pair of goals in the final three minutes sandwiched around Lochockiís second goal of the contest.

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