Air Force Opens 2011 Season Against Siena
Feb. 15, 2011
The Air Force lacrosse team opens the 2011 season this weekend, Feb. 20, when they head to Syracuse, N.Y., for a neutral site contest against Siena in the Carrier Dome. The game is slated to begin at 4:00 p.m. (ET).
Scouting the Falcons...
Air Force takes the field this season with 21 returning letterwinners and eight of 10 starters from the 2010 season. Among the leaders for the Falcons this year are seniors Zack Carroll and Vinny Sandtorv. Carroll had a breakout year offensively in 2010, scoring a team-best 31 points (21g, 10a) after entering the season with one career point. Meanwhile, team captain Sandtorv, a second-team all-conference pick in 2010, was the Falcons’ leading goal scorer last season with 19 goals, while also adding a career-best five assists.
Meanwhile, the Falcons’ defense is anchored once again by brothers Bryan and Dayton Gilbreath, who were both named preseason All-ECAC selections. Bryan, a senior, earned second-team all-conference honors as a long-stick midfielder, while Dayton, a junior, is a two-time first-team all-conference pick and the 2011 preseason ECAC Defensive Player of the Year.
Head Coach Eric Seremet...
Eric Seremet enters his second 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.
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.
Scouting the Saints...
Siena enters this weekend’s game with an 0-1 record on the season. The Saints opened their 2011 slate on Saturday with a 20-6 loss to fifth-ranked Duke.
The Saints are coached by Brian Brecht, in his seventh year at the helm of the program. Junior Chris Roth led Siena against Duke, scoring two goals and an assist, while senior Dan Lawson scored his first two career goals.
This week’s contest will be the seventh meeting all-time between Air Force and Siena, with the Falcons holding a 5-1 edge in the series. The teams met last season in Loudonville, N.Y., with the Saints earning a 5-2 victory.
The Falcons are 29-15 all-time in season openers and have won four of their last seven season openers.
Air Force is opening the season away from home for just the second time in the past five seasons. The Falcons began the 2009 season at a neutral site game in Jacksonville, Fla., dropping a 15-4 contest to third-ranked Maryland.
Air Force’s squad is characterized this season by its youth. Of the 49 players listed on the current roster, 27 are newcomers, including 25 freshmen.
Despite its youth, Air Force also returns plenty of experience to its lineup. The Falcons return eight starters from the 2010 season, including their leading point scorer (Zack Carroll) and leading goal scorer (Vinny Sandtorv).
Moving To Falcon Stadium...
This season, Air Force is scheduled to play all of its home games at Falcon Stadium, the home venue for the Academy’s football team. Air Force played two of its games at Falcon Stadium in 2010, including its first-ever victory over service academy rival Army.
For the second straight season, brothers Bryan and Dayton Gilbreath were named to the Preseason All-ECAC team as defensive selections. In addition, Dayton Gilbreath was named the 2011 preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
The Gilbreath brothers, natives of Bainbridge Island, Wash., are the backbone of the Falcons’ defensive unit. Dayton, currently a junior, has been a first-team all-conference selection on defense in each of his first two years, earning the honor as a member of the GWLL in 2009 and the ECAC in 2010. He was also named the GWLL Newcomer of the Year in his rookie season.
Meanwhile, Bryan is a senior who has seen time at both the long-stick midfield and close defense positions. He was named a second-team all-conference selection as an LSM in each of the past two seasons (GWLL in 2009, ECAC in 2010). In 2010, Bryan ranked ninth in the nation in caused turnovers per game with 2.0, while ranking 16th in ground balls per contest (5.07).
Preseason ECAC Rankings...
In the preseason ECAC rankings voted on by the league’s coaches, Air Force was selected to finish sixth in the conference. Denver, which captured the conference title in 2010, was chosen to repeat as champion, followed by Loyola in second place. Fairfield ranked third in the team projections, followed by Ohio State, Hobart, Air Force and Bellarmine.
The Falcons open their home slate next weekend, Feb. 25, with a non-conference match-up versus Vermont. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in Falcon Stadium.
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