Air Force Opens 2013 Season in North Carolina
Junior Mike Crampton

Feb. 6, 2013

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The Air Force lacrosse team opens the 2013 season this weekend, when it heads to the Tarheel State for a pair of non-conference contests. The Falcons take on fourth-ranked North Carolina on Friday, Feb. 8, in a 7:00 p.m. (ET) contest, while visiting first-year program High Point at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10.

Live Stats:
Series History: North Carolina leads, 9-0
Last Meeting: North Carolina 8, Air Force 6 (2/25/06 - Denver, Colo.)

Live Stats/Video:
Series History: First Meeting
Last Meeting: N/A

Air Force, which finished the 2012 season with a 6-7 overall record, takes the field this season with 34 returning letterwinners and nine of 10 starters from last year. The Falcons, who return 96.1 percent of their points from 2012, are led on the offensive end by juniors Mike Crampton and Tommy McKee and sophomore Keith Dreyer.

Crampton, who notched 34 points on the year, led Air Force in total goals scored last season with 29, the most for an Air Force player since the 1998 season. Dreyer, an ECAC all-rookie selection, tallied a team-leading 27 assists and 46 points in his freshman campaign, ranking among the nation's leaders in both assists and points per game, while McKee added 30 points (23g, 7a) to complete the Falcons' starting attack. In addition, junior midfielders Erik Smith and Kyle Cassady round out the group of the Falcons' top five scorers from a year ago, accumulating 20 and 19 points, respectively, in 2012.

While the Falcons lose four-time all-conference defender Dayton Gilbreath, junior Matt Puleo and sophomore Davis Gunter return to anchor the defense, along with sophomore long-stick midfielder Kyle O'Brien and senior goalkeeper Austin Fox.

•HEAD COACH Eric Seremet...
Eric Seremet enters his fifth season at the helm of the Air Force lacrosse program. During the 2009 campaign, Seremet, a seven-year assistant for the Falcons, took over the reins from legendary coach Fred Acee, who retired following more than four decades in the coaching profession.

Last season, Seremet guided the Falcons to a 6-7 overall record, including a thrilling overtime victory against service academy rival Army. Seremet also oversaw Air Force's most potent offensive unit since 1997, as the Falcons averaged 17.8 points and 10.9 goals per contest.

Seremet, a 1992 North Carolina graduate, guided the Falcons to a 7-7 overall ledger in 2009, including a 4-1 record in the Great Western Lacrosse League and a second-place conference finish. Air Force's seven wins were the most since 2006 and more than in the previous two seasons combined, while the team finished at .500 for the first time since 1997. In 2010, Seremet helped lead the Falcons to an 8-7 overtime victory over service academy rival Army, marking the first-ever win for the Falcons over the rival Black Knights in Army's first trip to the Academy. The 2011 team, which captured a victory over nationally ranked Loyola, ended the year with a 6-7 overall ledger and tied for third place in the league standings as the Falcons won five of their last seven contests.

North Carolina, tied for fourth in the USILA Coaches Poll and ranked seventh in the preseason Nike/Inside Lacrosse media poll, opens its 2013 season this Friday. The Tar Heels posted an 11-6 record in 2012, falling to Denver in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Among the leading returners for North Carolina is senior All-American Marcus Holman, who tallied 49 goals and 45 assists in 2012, while sophomores Joey Sankey and Jimmy Bitter each notched over 40 points as rookies. In addition, junior R.G. Keenan was a 2012 first-team All-America selection as a face-off specialist.

High Point, in its first season as a varsity program, currently holds an 0-1 record on the season, following a 12-10 loss to Delaware last Saturday. The Panthers will play Towson on Friday before hosting the Falcons Sunday.

Among the leading returners for North Carolina is senior All-American Marcus Holman, who tallied 49 goals and 45 assists in 2012, while sophomores Joey Sankey and Jimmy Bitter each notched over 40 points as rookies. In addition, junior R.G. Keenan was a 2012 first-team All-America selection as a face-off specialist.

The Falcons have a 29-17 all-time record in season openers. This year, Air Force is opening the season away from home for the fourth time in the past five seasons, with the previous three away games held at neutral sites. The Falcons last started the season with a true road contest in 2006 with a loss at Villanova.

Air Force will have to get used to playing away from home, as 10 of the Falcons' 13 games this season will be played on the road or at neutral sites. Each of Air Force's first five games will be away from home, with the Falcons' first game at the Academy scheduled for March 2 versus Marquette.

Junior Mike Crampton has scored at least one goal in 15 straight games, dating back to the 2011 season. He is tied with North Carolina's Marcus Holman for the sixth-longest goal scoring streak among active Division I players.

After just one year of action, sophomore Kyle O'Brien ranks among the national leaders in career points by an LSM/defenseman. O'Brien enters the 2013 season with nine career points (3g, 6a), which is tied for fifth-most in Division I.

For the third-straight season, Air Force has a large contingent of underclassmen on its squad. Of the 51 players listed on the current roster, 31 are underclassmen, with 14 sophomores and 17 freshmen.

Although there are just 20 upperclassmen on the Falcons' 2013 roster, Air Force still returns nine of its 10 starters from last year, including eight who started all 13 games for the Falcons last year. Leading the way are juniors Kyle Cassady, Mike Crampton, Tommy McKee, Matt Puleo and Erik Smith have combined for 121 career starts in their first two seasons.

Juniors Mike Crampton, Erik Smith and Bryan Price have been named Air Force's team captains for the 2013 season.

Crampton, an attackman from Kinnelon, N.J., is one of Air Force's top offensive threats, ranking among the nation's leading goal scorers in 2012. Smith, a midfielder from Golden, Colo., has been a standout for the Falcons the past two seasons as a point scorer in addition to a threat at the face-off X. Meanwhile, Price (Denver, Colo.) walked on to the team as a sophomore and made an immediate impact, earning ECAC All-Rookie honors as one of Air Force's top face-off midfielders.

Air Force lacrosse is now on Facebook. For even more up-to-date information about the Falcons, including videos, links, photos and events, visit the Air Force Lacrosse page on Facebook ( and click "Like" or follow the Falcons on Twitter (@AFLacrosse).

•UP NEXT...
The Falcons head to Piscataway, N.J., next week, Feb. 16, for a non-conference road game versus Rutgers. Game time is 1:00 p.m. (ET) at Yurcak Field.



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