Air Force Visits Top-Seed Duke in NCAA First Round
Sophomore Brett Dadiego

May 9, 2014

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Fresh off its win over Richmond in the NCAA play-in game, the 17th-ranked Air Force lacrosse team heads to Durham, N.C., to face top-seed Duke in the first round of the NCAA Championship. The game will be played at 5:15 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, May 11.

Live Stats: or
Series History: Duke leads, 4-2
Last Meeting: Duke 19, Air Force 6 (5/6/07 @ Durham, N.C.)

Air Force rolled to an 11-1 advantage before scoring a 13-5 victory over Richmond Wednesday evening in the NCAA play-in game.

Senior captain Mike Crampton led the Falcons' offense with four goals and an assist, while junior Keith Dreyer tallied three assists. Additionally, seniors Tommy McKee and Erik Smith each chipped in two goals. Meanwhile, sophomore goalkeeper Brett Dadiego had a strong first-half effort, recording eight saves while allowing just one goal.

Air Force, ranked 17th in the final USILA coaches poll of the season and 18th in this week's Warrior media poll, enters this weekend's game with an 11-5 overall record. After claiming their first-ever ECAC tournament championship, the Falcons advanced to the NCAA First Round with a win over Richmond.

Senior captain Mike Crampton has registered a team-leading 62 points on the year, scoring 45 goals and 17 assists, while junior Keith Dreyer has added 48 points, including a team-best 31 assists. The Falcons have three other players who have registered at least 35 points, with senior Tommy McKee tallying 41 points (30g, 11a) and senior captains Erik Smith (24g, 14a) and Kyle Cassady (24g, 13a) adding 38 and 37 points, respectively.

Duke, ranked third in both the USILA coaches poll and Warrior media poll, enters the NCAA Championship as the top seed. The defending national champions earned an at-large bid to the tournament, carrying a 13-3 overall record on the season.

Tewaaraton Award finalist Jordan Wolf leads the Blue Devils with 80 points (51g, 29a) on the season, ranking third in the nation in goals per game and fifth in points per game. Meanwhile, Deemer Class (31g, 25a) and Josh Dionne (43g, 7a) have added 56 and 50 points, respectively. The Blue Devils also feature one of the top face-off men in the country in Brendan Fowler, with a winning percentage of .601.

Sunday's showdown between Air Force and Duke could be a high-scoring affair, with the Blue Devils ranked second in the nation in scoring offense with 14.5 goals per game, while the Falcons average 11.8 goals per game (14th in the nation). Duke also features two of the top 10 goal scorers in the nation, while Air Force senior Mike Crampton ranks 15th nationally in goals per game.

Air Force's win over Richmond in the NCAA play-in game was the first-ever NCAA tournament victory in the history of the program. Additionally, it was the first NCAA tournament win by any Air Force team since the ice hockey team defeated Michigan in 2009.

While sophomore goalkeeper Brett Dadiego struggled at times during the Falcons' ECAC tournament run, he made up for it in a big way in Air Force's win over Richmond on Wednesday. Dadiego, who made the start against the Spiders, recorded a career-high eight saves, while allowing just one goal in 30 minutes of action.

During the ECAC Tournament, senior Mike Crampton took over the top spot on Air Force's single-season goals list (modern era) with 40 goals in 2014. Meanwhile, he surpassed the Falcons' previous modern era single-season points mark of 60, reaching 62 points after his performance in the Falcons' play-in game.

After tallying three assists in the Falcons' play-in game on Wednesday, junior Keith Dreyer moved into a tie for first place on the Falcons' modern era career assist list with 84 helpers over his career.

Dreyer also holds the Falcons' single-season assist record in the modern era, with 31 assists in 2014. The previous record of 27 assists was initially set by Will Meister in 2006, while Dreyer matched the record in 2012.

Senior captain Mike Crampton finished with four goals in the Falcons' win over Richmond on Wednesday, marking the eighth time this season that he has tallied at least three goals.

Including Crampton, Air Force has had six different players register hat tricks this season. Senior Tommy McKee is second on the team with five hat tricks, sophomore Christopher Allen has pitched in four hat tricks, senior Kyle Cassady has added three hat tricks, Erik Smith has registered two hat tricks this year and junior Keith Dreyer has scored one hat trick.

Crampton currently leads the Falcons in career hat tricks with 24, while McKee ranks second on the team with 15.

Air Force's 11 victories this season are the most by the Falcons since 1988, when the team finished the year with a 13-4 mark. The Falcons have also registered their first winning season since 1997, when Air Force posted a 7-5 overall ledger.

The winner of Sunday's first-round game will advance to the NCAA quarterfinals in Newark, Del., on Sunday, May 18.



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