April 5, 2014
USAFA, Colo. - Gaining a 10-0 advantage after one period, the Air Force lacrosse team defeated visiting Mercer, 19-6, Saturday afternoon at Falcon Stadium. With the win, the Falcons improve to 7-3 on the season, while the Bears drop to 6-4. Air Force also claims its fifth-straight victory, marking its longest win streak since 1991.
Senior captain Mike Crampton (Kinnelon, N.J.) paced the Falcons' offense with a career-best eight goals, including seven scores in the first quarter alone. Crampton, who also scored an assist for the Falcons, turned in the highest single-game goal performance by an Air Force player since 1994, when Mike Murphy and Bryan Salmon each registered eight-goal games. Meanwhile, junior Keith Dreyer (Malvern, Pa.) added four points (2g, 2a) and senior Erik Smith (Golden, Colo.) pitched in a season-best three assists.
The scoring started at the 13:42 mark, as Christopher Allen (So., Hillsborough, N.J.) earned his first assist of the season with a feed to Crampton. Two minutes later, Crampton added back-to-back goals just six seconds apart, completing his fifth hat trick of the season. Nearly seven minutes went by without another score, when Crampton again found the back of the net.
Air Force took a 5-0 lead with a tally by Dreyer at the 4:04 mark in the first quarter, while Crampton added a pair of man-up scores during a one-minute non-releasable penalty against the Bears. The Falcons closed out the first quarter with three goals in less than two minutes, getting scores from Austin Smith (Fr., Golden, Colo.), Crampton and Dreyer, as Air Force earned its largest advantage of the season.
Mercer finally got on the board in the opening minute of the second quarter and, with the Falcons' reserves beginning to see action, outscored Air Force 3-2 in the quarter. One of the Falcons' second period scores came from senior Franklin Martin (Memphis, Tenn.), who registered the first goal of his career with an assist from defenseman Luke Leathers (So., Denver, Colo.).
After taking a 12-3 advantage at the half, Air Force regained its double-digit lead with a goal from Kyle Cassady (Sr., Upper Arlington, Ohio). The Falcons outscored the Bears 4-3 over the remainder of the period to enter the final stanza with a 17-6 advantage.
The only scores of the fourth quarter came in the first 2:02 of the period, with sophomore Shelton Collier (Atlanta, Ga.) tallying his first career goal, while Nate Hruby (Jr., Coppell, Texas) added his first goal of the season. The Falcons, represented by their reserves for much of the fourth period, were able to keep Mercer off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game, holding on to the 13-goal win, Air Force's largest margin of victory since defeating Mercer, 20-4, in 2012.
Four different Falcons saw action between the pipes on Saturday, including freshman Mitch Rose (Garnet Valley, Pa.) in his collegiate debut and four-year team manager Tom Dickey, who closed out the game for Air Force.
The Falcons outshot the Bears, 58-24, for the game, including a 20-4 advantage in the fourth quarter alone. Air Force also had just eight turnovers, compared to 16 by Mercer. However, the Bears had a slight edge on face-offs, winning 15-of-28 in the game, and recorded 12 saves, including nine in the second half.
"Mike Crampton had a great day today and stepped up early for us," said Air Force head coach Eric Seremet. "Mercer played hard all game and took advantage of opportunities that they had. Fortunately, we got off to a good start and were able to stay steady despite some mistakes."
Air Force closes out its home slate next Saturday, April 12, when its hosts ECAC foe Fairfield. Prior to the game, which is slated to begin at 12:00 p.m. in Falcon Stadium, Air Force will honor the members of its senior class.
Air Force 19, Mercer 6
Mercer - 0 3 3 0 - 6
Air Force - 10 2 5 2 - 19
MU Scoring: Goals: Grayson, Yoggy, Gavin, Anderson, Teague, Micciche. Assists: Anderson, Grayson.
AF Scoring: Goals: Crampton 8, Dreyer 2, Cassady 2, A. Smith, Martin, Walker, Allen, Curran, Collier, Hruby. Assists: E. Smith 3, Allen 2, Dreyer 2, A. Smith, Leathers, Crampton, Cassady, Curran.