March 8, 2014
USAFA, Colo. - Senior Mike Crampton (Kinnelon, N.J.) and sophomore Christopher Allen (Hillsborough, N.J.) both scored hat tricks to lead the Air Force lacrosse team to a 13-9 victory over Bellarmine in its ECAC Lacrosse League opener Saturday afternoon at Falcon Stadium.
With the win, the Falcons move to 3-3 overall on the season and 1-0 in the ECAC, while the Knights, receiving votes in the latest coaches' and media polls, fall to 4-1 on the year and 0-1 in the league.
Air Force got on the scoreboard a minute into the contest with a goal from senior Kyle Cassady (Upper Arlington, Ohio) on an assist from classmate Erik Smith (Golden, Colo.). Bellarmine tied the game a minute and a half later, while Crampton's first score of the game put the Falcons back on top with 10:19 left in the first period. The Knights scored off the ensuing face-off to tie the contest once more, while taking their only lead of the game at the 8:28 mark. Crampton's second goal of the contest came with under two minutes remaining in the opening quarter, as the two teams went into the second period tied at 3-3.
The Falcons got out to a hot start in the second stanza, registering three straight scores, including a man-up goal from Allen. Bellarmine finally put an end to Air Force's scoring spurt with a goal midway through the period, but the Falcons closed out the quarter with scores from Cassady and Keith Dreyer (Jr., Malvern, Pa.) to take an 8-4 advantage at the half.
With starting Air Force goalkeeper Doug Gouchoe (Concord, Mass.) on the bench to start the third period, the Knights came roaring back, tallying three unanswered scores, capped by a man-up goal at the 6:25 mark, to cut the margin to a single goal. Gouchoe returned to the game to anchor the Falcons' defense, while Air Force was able to get back on the scoreboard with back-to-back goals from Allen. After a Bellarmine score with just under three minutes remaining in the period brought the Knights back within one, senior Tommy McKee (Holt, Mich.) buried his only goal of the game with 1:06 on the clock, extending his nation-leading goal-scoring streak to 27 straight games.
The Falcons pushed their lead back to four early in the fourth quarter, as senior Bryan Price (Denver, Colo.) tallied his first goal of the season after winning the opening face-off of the period. Bellarmine responded with another score two and a half minutes later, while freshman Austin Smith (Golden, Colo.) notched his lone goal with 8:40 remaining. The final five minutes was riddled with penalties for both teams, but neither team was able to get back on the scoreboard, as Air Force held on for the 13-9 victory.
Air Force controlled the offensive pace of the game, nearly doubling up the Knights on shots taken (50-28). The Falcons also had a 33-25 edge on ground balls and won 16-of-25 face-offs for the game. Leading the way at the X was Price, who won 11-of-17 draws and grabbed a season-high eight ground balls.
In addition to Crampton's three goals, he also pitched in two assists for the Falcons, while McKee tallied a goal and a career-high three assists to help lead Air Force's offense.
"This was a big test of our character," said Air Force head coach Eric Seremet. "We need to learn and move on. It was an emotional win for us to beat a very good team in Bellarmine."
The Falcons return to action next Saturday, March 15, when they visit Jacksonville in a non-conference match-up.
Air Force 13, Bellarmine 9
Bellarmine - 3 1 4 1 - 9
Air Force - 3 5 3 2 - 13
BU Scoring: Goals: Mitchell 4, Gardner 3, Shanks, Scinta. Assists: Soriano, Scinta, Mitchell, Schmitt, Hill.
AF Scoring: Goals: Crampton 3, Allen 3, Cassady 2, E. Smith, Dreyer, McKee, Price, A. Smith. Assists: McKee 3, Crampton 2, E. Smith, Cassady, A. Smith, Dreyer.