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AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — No. 20-ranked Brown University made second-half comebacks in both games but dropped decisions to No. 9 Long Beach State University, 18-13, and host the United States Air Force Academy, 14-12, on Saturday at Cadet Natatorium at the Rare Air 2-Air Force Invitational.

The Bears used a 4-0 run to pull within 14-13 of the 49ers of Long Beach State in their first game of the day and erased a four-goal halftime deficit against the Air Force Falcons before falling in both contests.

“We have plenty to work on, but we understand that this is a long season,” said Brown head coach Felix Mercado. “We are playing well in stretches but need to be more consistent over the course of a full 32 minutes.”

A total of 12 different Bears scored on the day with senior James Thygesen (Menlo Park, Calif.), junior Aidan Reilly (Los Angeles, Calif.), sophomore Matt Simko (Coral Gables, Fla.) and freshman Cole Atwell (San Diego, Calif.) each scoring three goals. Sophomore Ugo Piovan (Vouliagmeni, Greece) and junior Riad Hallal (Coronado, Calif.) combined for 23 saves on the day in cage.

Against Long Beach State, Piovan made 14 saves, and the Bears totaled 10 different goal scorers.

The Bears used a 4-0 run to trim their deficit to 14-13 heading to the fourth quarter before the 49ers took the final frame, 4-0.

Thygesen and sophomores Gabe Kaplan (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Andrew Penner (Atherton, Calif.) each scored two goals with Thygesen adding an assist.

Seven Bears scored one goal apiece, including seniors Will Collier (Darien, Conn.) and Armen Deirmenjian (Beverly Hills, Calif.), junior Reilly, sophomores Niko Bhatia (Los Altos, Calif.) and Stephen Salle (Chadds Ford, Pa.) and freshmen Atwell and Leo Berkman (Orinda, Calif.).

Reilly paced the Bears with five assists, and Atwell and Deirmenjian each tallied an assist and two steals.

Piovan stopped a five-meter penalty shot as part of his 14-save effort.

Thygesen and Salle scored the Bears’ first two goals to give Brown a 2-1 lead less than two minutes into the game. After Long Beach used a 4-0 run to pull ahead 5-2, goals from Penner and Kaplan and a five-meter save from Piovan brought Brown within 5-4 at the end of one.

Goals from Bhatia and Penner kept Brown within one goal at 7-6 with 3:34 left in the second quarter. The 49ers gained a 9-6 edge before tallies from Deirmenjian and Thygesen allowed the Bears to stay within 10-8. LBSU scored the half’s final goal to take an 11-8 advantage at the break.

Reilly netted the Bears’ first goal of the second half, but a 3-1 run gave LBSU a 14-9 lead. Brown responded with a 4-0 streak behind goals from Kaplan, Collier, Atwell and Berkman to cut the deficit to 14-13 heading to the final frame.

LBSU then outscored Brown 4-0 in the final frame, netting two goals in the first 1:02 of the period and notching two goals in the last 2:18.

Facing Air Force, Simko scored a hat trick as the Bears turned a 7-3 halftime deficit into a tie game at 12-12 with 1:11 to go in the fourth quarter before the host Falcons scored the contest’s final two goals.

Simko led the Brown offense with three goals, while juniors Adam Fuller (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Reilly and freshman Atwell each netted two goals. Reilly also came up with three steals.

Deirmenjian posted a goal and two assists, Thygesen tallied a goal and two steals, and Bhatia notched a goal and an assist. Berkman added two assists.

In the cage, Hallal made nine saves.

Following an Air Force goal to open the game, Simko and Reilly converted back-to-back goals to put Brown up 2-1. The Falcons scored the next two goals to gain a 3-2 edge at the close of the first quarter.

The hosts outscored the Bears 4-1 in the second quarter with Thygesen scoring Brown’s only goal in the frame as Air Force held a 7-3 lead at halftime.

Atwell scored consecutive goals to pull Brown within 7-5 in the third quarter. Fuller and Simko each matched Air Force goals later in the frame, keeping Brown within 9-7 heading to the fourth quarter.

Goals from Fuller and Simko early in the fourth quarter allowed Brown to pull within 10-9 with 5:15 to play. Reilly and Bhatia kept the Bears within 11-10 and 12-11 respectively before Deirmenjian knotted the game at 12-12 with 1:11 remaining. Air Force countered with a goal with 53 seconds to play and added a marker with one second on the clock after making a defensive stop.

Release courtesy Brown University Athletics Communications

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