April 30, 2014
The Air Force lacrosse team heads to the ECAC Tournament, being held May 1 and 3, at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
The Falcons, seeded third in the tournament, will take on second-seed Ohio State in the second semifinal, slated to begin at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Thursday. The winner will advance to the championship contest, which is scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 3.
Live Stats: ohiostatebuckeyes.com
TV: FOX Sports 2
Series History: Ohio State leads, 20-10
Last Meeting: Ohio State 8, Air Force 6 (4/19/14 @ OSU)
LAST TIME OUT...
The Falcons gave up a season-high 15 goals last weekend, dropping a 15-10 non-conference contest to Quinnipiac on the road. Senior captain Kyle Cassady paced Air Force's offense, registering a career-high-tying six points, including his third hat trick of the year.
SCOUTING THE FALCONS...
Air Force, seeded third in this week's tournament, currently holds an 8-5 overall record following its loss to Quinnipiac in the Falcons' regular season finale. The Falcons captured a share of the league's regular-season title, posting a 3-1 record in the ECAC with wins over Bellarmine, Fairfield and Michigan.
Senior Mike Crampton has registered a team-leading 51 points on the year, scoring 35 goals and 16 assists. The Falcons have four other players who have registered at least 30 points, with junior Keith Dreyer and seniors Tommy McKee, Erik Smith and Kyle Cassady scoring 35, 34, 33 and 32 points, respectively.
SCOUTING THE BUCKEYES...
Ohio State, the second seed in this week's tournament, currently holds a 6-7 overall mark and finished the ECAC regular season slate with a 3-1 record after dropping a 7-5 decision to Fairfield last weekend. The Buckeyes, receiving votes in the latest Warrior media poll, captured a share of the ECAC regular season title with wins over Air Force, Bellarmine and Michigan.
Junior Jesse King leads Ohio State with 48 points (26g, 22a), averaging a league-best 4.0 points per contest, while sophomore Carter Brown has added 33 points (21g, 12a). The Buckeyes' defense is paced by ECAC Defensive Player of the Year Joe Meurer, while senior goalkeeper Scott Spencer has started the last six contests for Ohio State and holds a 7.35 goals against average.
Finishing the regular season with a 3-1 conference ledger, Air Force claimed a share of the 2014 ECAC Lacrosse League regular-season championship. It marks the first-ever Division I conference title for the Falcons, who tied with Fairfield and Ohio State for first place in the league. Prior to 1993, Air Force won multiple league championships as a member of the inter-divisional Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League.
A program-record eight Air Force players were honored by the ECAC in the league's annual awards, including ECAC Offensive Player of the Year Mike Crampton. Additionally, Falcons' head coach Eric Seremet was tabbed the league's Coach of the Year.
Crampton was one of four Falcons named to the All-ECAC first team. He was joined by junior Keith Dreyer (attack) and seniors Erik Smith (midfield) and Matt Puleo (defense). Representing Air Force on the ECAC second team were seniors Tommy McKee (attack) and Kyle Cassady (midfield) and sophomore Alex Warden (defense), while freshman Austin Smith (midfield) was named to the league's all-rookie team.
CASSADY STEPS UP...
Senior captain Kyle Cassady carried the Falcons' offense on Saturday versus Quinnipiac, registering a career-high-tying six points (3g, 3a). Cassady's hat trick against the Bobcats was his third of the season and his career.
ALLEN WITH THE HAT TRICK...
Sophomore Christopher Allen registered half of Air Force's goals against Ohio State on April 19, recording his third hat trick of the season (and fifth of his career).
Including Allen, Air Force has had five different players register hat tricks this season, led by senior Mike Crampton, who has tallied at least three goals in six separate games this year. Tommy McKee has scored five hat tricks this season, senior Kyle Cassady has added three hat tricks and Erik Smith has registered two hat tricks this year.
Crampton currently leads the Falcons in career hat tricks with 22, while McKee ranks second on the team with 15.
RELYING ON OFFENSE...
Air Force's offense has been the key component in wins and losses this season--in the Falcons' eight victories, the team is averaging 15 goals per game. In contrast, Air Force has averaged just 6.8 goals per game in its four losses.
Senior Tommy McKee currently owns the longest goal scoring streak in the nation, having scored at least one goal in 32 straight games, dating back to the 2012 season. Meanwhile, his 35-game point scoring streak is currently tied for the eighth-longest in the nation.
Air Force now has four different players who have scored at least 100 points in their respective careers--senior Mike Crampton (162), junior Keith Dreyer (117), senior Tommy McKee (112) and senior Erik Smith (110). In comparison, just two other Air Force players in the past 10 years have scored 100 career points--2007 graduate Will Meister (141) and 2009 graduate Griffin Nevitt (119).
NATIONAL CAREER LEADERS...
Junior Keith Dreyer ranks as top 10 Division I active career leaders in a pair of statistical categories, ranking eighth in assists per game (1.88) and tied for 10th in total assists (75).
Meanwhile, senior Mike Crampton ranks ninth among active players in career points (162), while also ranking tied for 11th in career goals (114).
Should Air Force defeat Ohio State on Thursday, the Falcons will advance to the ECAC championship game, slated to begin at 5 p.m. (ECAC) on Saturday, May 3. The tournament champion will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.