University of Incarnate Word’s men’s team lost their opening conference match on Sunday afternoon at Benson Stadium. A strong first half from Air Force gave them a lead which they managed to hold on to for the 4-2 win.
Air Force went for the match from the opening minutes but UIW kept fighting with Ben Conway looking the likely outlet for the Cardinals. Conway saw three shots in the first 15 minutes but his efforts were blocked by either the keeper or the Air Force defenders.
Air Force hit the lead in the 18th minute as Tucker Axhoj was able to get a shot away from distance, which saw his effort blocked by the Cardinals defense. That ball then fell to Cameron Duley who was able to easily tap it home for the opener.
Just one minute later a swift counter attack allowed Air Force to double their lead as Klint Parker was able to release Luis Martinez. That allowed Martinez to get through and he was able to easily score to make it 2-0.
The Cardinals were able to hold off the Air Force offense for 15 minutes but they were unable to hold out for much longer. Axhoj was able to double his goal tally as John Sims and Cameron Duley linked up well to create the space for Axhoj to take advantage of and score the goal.
As the first half draw to a close, the Cardinals started to really look more dangerous as they were on the attack. Ryan Osborne was the main outlet in those final stages but UIW was unable to pull a goal back, keeping it 3-0 at the half.
12 minutes in to the second half, UIW pulled a goal to get themselves back in to the match after a foul in the box gave the Cardinals a penalty. That allowed Ben Conway to step up and hit a penalty which left the keeper with no chance to make it 3-1.
From there the Cardinals kept on pushing but they couldn’t get past the stern Air Force defense until the final 10 minutes of the match. In the 80th minute Roberto Diaz saw his header saved, which allowed Ryan Osborne to send it back in for Diaz, who this time made no mistake with a header to bury it and set up a thrilling finish.
But in the last minute the Air Force was able to wrap up the match as they found a winning goal to wrap up the 4-2 win. Again two midfielders, Tucker Bone and Austin Dewing linked up well, allowing them to set up Parker for the winner and final score.