The No. 2-seeded Hoosiers are one step closer to the College Cup after dominating Connecticut in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last Sunday afternoon.
Now in the third round, IU will take on Air Force on Sunday at noon. Air Force doesn’t have a seeding in the tournament but is ranked No. 13 in the country, according to the latest United Soccer Coaches poll.
Air Force scored two first-half goals to upset No. 15-seeded Denver, 2-1, to set up the matchup with IU.
Here are three things to know about the Falcons before the two teams meet in the round of 16.
1. Three-headed scoring attack
Air Force comes into the game with the third-ranked scoring offense in the country. The offense is led by a trio of seniors: midfielder Tucker Bone, forward Austin Dewing and defender Klint Parker.
Bone was a USCA first-team All-American and a MAC Hermann Trophy semi-finalist last season with five goals and seven assists as a junior. Now a senior, Bone was named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year after leading Air Force with 13 goals and six assists.
Dewing is second on the team with 12 goals and five assists, but led Air Force last season with seven goals despite only starting in nine matches. Parker has scored in both NCAA Tournament matches and is third on the team with eight goals and four assists.
The Falcons have 13 players who’ve registered a goal and it should be the matchup to watch as the Hoosiers are fourth in the country in team goals-against average.
2. Ranked wins
The Falcons didn’t play the toughest schedule this season but are undefeated against ranked opponents.
Air Force defeated then-No. 13 Colgate, 3-0, and then-No. 22 San Francisco 2-1 within a five-day span back in September. The two wins helped the Eagles remain in the top-25 rankings for the remainder of the season.
The third-ranked win of the season for Air Force came in the last match with No. 9 Denver who was the No. 15 seed in the tournament. All four losses for Air Force have come against unranked opponents including a pair of losses to Grand Canyon.
3. Strong NCAA Tournament performance
Air Force has only given up one goal in the two NCAA Tournament matches and it came on a Denver set piece in the second half.
In the first round against the University of Central Arkansas, Air Force scored four second-half goals to pick up the 4-0 shutout victory. The four goals proved Air Force is capable of scoring in bunches. The first two goals came within about a minute of each other while the second pair of goals were scored within roughly three minutes of each other.
Out of the 34 shots that Air Force has registered in the NCAA Tournament, 14 of them have been on goal.
The game will be televised live nationally on the Big Ten Network.