May 8, 2013
USAFA, Colo. - Several members of the Air Force lacrosse team were honored Tuesday evening at the Falcons' annual awards banquet. Earning the team's top award as most valuable player was junior captain Mike Crampton.
Crampton, a native of Kinnelon, N.J., was a second-team All-ECAC selection on attack this season, after leading the Falcons with 53 points, including a team-best 34 goals. His 34 goals are the most in a single season for an Air Force player since 1998, while his 53 points are the most for a Falcon since 1994. Crampton, who registered hat tricks in five of Air Force's last six games and eight total on the season, ranks among the nation's leaders in both points per game and goals per game. He also reached the 100-point career plateau with his personal-best 11 points in a win at Mercer, becoming just the fifth Air Force player in the past 20 years to reach the mark and just the second to do so as a junior.
Fellow team captain Erik Smith (Jr., Golden, Colo.) was tabbed the team's offensive MVP, while junior Matt Puleo (Whitehouse Station, N.J.) was named the defensive MVP. Smith, a second-team All-ECAC pick at midfield, had a standout season for the Falcons this season, finishing the year with 29 points, including a career-best 21 goals. The do-everything midfielder scored three man-up goals on the season, took nearly half of the Falcons' face-offs and earned the team's Ground Ball Award for the third-straight year, picking up 57 ground balls on the season.
Meanwhile, Puleo was an anchor for the Falcons' defense in his third year as a starting close defenseman. Stepping into the shoes of four-year all-conference defender Dayton Gilbreath, Puleo recorded 23 ground balls on the year and ranked second on the team with 17 caused turnovers.
Sharing Rookie of the Year honors were freshmen Christopher Allen (Hillsborough, N.J.) and Alex Warden (Glen Mills, Pa.). Allen, a midfielder who started the final seven games of the season, finished fifth on the team in total points (23) and was fourth in goals scored (18). In addition, he was the Falcons' third-leading scorer in conference games with 12 goals and three assists. Allen registered a pair of hat tricks on the season, including a three-goal effort in the Falcons' 15-10 win over No. 12 Lehigh.
On defense, Warden was a standout in his first season with the Falcons, earning ECAC All-Rookie honors. A starter all season, Warden led Air Force with 19 caused turnovers on the year, while also recording 29 ground balls and two points (1g, 1a).
Garnering Most Improved honors was senior Austin Fox (Webster, N.Y.). In his second year as the Falcons' starting goalkeeper, Fox made huge strides, recording the highest save total (148) and save percentage (.530) for an Air Force player since 2006. Meanwhile, junior captain Bryan Price (Denver, Colo.) was the recipient of the Face-Off Award for the second-straight season, posting a 54.5 win percentage at the face-off X, ranking 22nd in the nation. Price, a second-team All-ECAC pick as a specialist, also ranked third on the team with 40 ground balls on the season.
Earning the Falcons' Unsung Hero Award, granted to the player or players who contribute most to the team's success without getting the recognition, were junior Kyle Cassady (Upper Arlington, Ohio) and freshman Brenden Coleman (Doylestown, Pa.). Cassady, a three-year starter at midfield for the Falcons, had his best offensive production in 2013, recording a career-high 20 points (16g, 4a) as one of Air Force's most consistent performers. Meanwhile, Coleman made his mark as the Falcons' top short-stick defensive midfielder, registering 17 ground balls and four caused turnovers, along with four points (2g, 2a).
Senior Conor Hogan (Cary, N.C.) was the recipient of the Iron Bolt Award, given to the athlete who demonstrates the highest commitment to the strength and conditioning program. Meanwhile, junior Taylor Hanley (Kensington, Md.) was also honored with the Pace Weber Award, which is presented yearly as a tribute to C1C Pace Weber, who perished along with his instructor in a T-3 flight training accident here at the Academy. Voted on by members of the team, the recipient is an individual who most exemplifies the characteristics by which Pace Weber lived his life.
2013 Air Force Lacrosse Awards
MVP: Mike Crampton
MVP Offense: Erik Smith
MVP Defense: Matt Puleo
Rookie of the Year: Christopher Allen/Alex Warden
Most Improved: Austin Fox
Ground Ball Award: Erik Smith
Face-Off Award: Bryan Price
Unsung Hero Award: Kyle Cassady/Brenden Coleman
Iron Bolt Award: Conor Hogan
Pace Weber Award: Taylor Hanley