Feb. 24, 2013
USAFA, Colo. - Juniors Tommy McKee (Holt, Mich.) and Mike Crampton (Kinnelon, N.J.) anchored the Falcons' offense as the Air Force lacrosse team knocked off 12th-ranked Lehigh, 15-10, Sunday afternoon in the Frontier Airlines Face-Off Classic, being played at the Holaday Athletic Center.
Both teams had to battle a bit of adversity before the contest even started. The tournament, hosted by the University of Denver, underwent a venue change on Sunday due to inclement weather in the area, moving down to the Air Force Academy, just north of Colorado Springs. Originally slated for an 11:00 a.m. face-off, action for the day's first game did not start until 1:40 p.m.
Lehigh (2-2) struck first, getting on the board two minutes into the contest, but freshmen Christopher Allen (Hillsborough, N.J.) and Alex Warden (Glen Mills, Pa.) responded with back-to-back scores to give Air Force a 2-1 advantage at the 10:32 mark. The teams traded goals throughout the remainder of the first period, with Allen tallying his second goal with just 12 seconds on the clock, as Air Force took a 4-3 lead into the second quarter.
The back and forth scoring continued in the second period, with McKee and Lehigh's Dante Fantoni each scoring two goals in a space of less than two minutes. A tally from Crampton at the eight-minute mark pushed Air Force's margin to 7-5, but the Mountain Hawks came right back with another score to get back within one. The Falcons added two more scores, a goal from Kyle Cassady (Jr., Upper Arlington, Ohio) and the third of the day from Allen, to take a 9-6 lead, but Lehigh closed out the period with another score to bring the halftime margin to 9-7.
The two teams again traded goals in the third period, starting with a goal from McKee in the first minute. The Mountain Hawks never got closer than two, while Crampton's score with 40 seconds remaining in the quarter gave Air Force a 12-9 advantage.
After Lehigh cut the margin back to two goals with 8:54 left to play, Air Force was able to control possession for the remainder of the game, outscoring the Mountain Hawks 3-0 in the final minutes of the contest.
The Falcons' win over Lehigh was its first victory over a top-15 team since the 2006 season, as Air Force (4-1) is out to its best start since 1997.
McKee tallied a game-high four goals, while Crampton added three goals and two assists to match his career high of five points. In addition, Allen had an outstanding offensive effort, recording his first career hat trick and adding an assist to finish with four points.
Senior goalkeeper Austin Fox (Webster, N.Y.) registered 14 saves in the game, while junior Erik Smith (Golden, Colo.) led the Falcons' winning effort on face-offs, winning 10 of his 15 draws, in addition to scoring two goals and an assist.
"I think we struggled defensively early," said Air Force head coach Eric Seremet. "We made some adjustments at halftime--I challenged our guys to step up, and they responded. Lehigh's attack is extremely talented and put a lot of pressure on us. I was glad to see our defense step up to the challenge down the stretch."
The Falcons return to action next weekend, March 2, when they host Marquette in a 12:00 p.m. contest.